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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 September 2018

At least 12 killed in suspected US-led strike, monitor says

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said those killed in an area south of Albu Kamal were foreign fighters

Syrian pro-government forces patrol in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor on November 4, 2017. AFP
Syrian pro-government forces patrol in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor on November 4, 2017. AFP

At least 12 pro-Syrian regime fighters were killed on Wednesday night in air strikes in the country’s east, a UK-based war monitor said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that none of those killed in an area south of Albu Kamal — which has been repeatedly attacked by ISIS — were Syrian nationals but foreign fighters.

“At least three vehicles were destroyed by the strike,” said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman, who could not provide further details on the identity of the militants killed.

Lebanon’s Hezbollah group and other Iran-backed militias have been fighting alongside forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad against rebels and ISIS militants.

Syria’s state media reported earlier on Thursday that a US-backed international coalition struck Syrian army targets near the front lines with ISIS in eastern Syria, but it said it only caused material damage.

The Observatory said the US-led coalition — which is also battling ISIS in eastern Syria — was likely behind the strikes but the Pentagon said it had "no information to substantiate those reports”.

Read more: US coalition attacked Syrian regime targets, Hezbollah says

A US military official denied any knowledge of the strikes.

"We have no operational reporting of a US-led coalition strike against pro-Syrian regime targets or forces," Reuters quoted Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman for US Central Command, as saying.

A military media unit run by Hezbollah said the strikes were near T2, an energy installation near the border with Iraq about 100 kilometres west of the Euphrates.

“Military source: Some of our positions in Albu Kamal and Hmeimeih in the Syrian desert came under attack by the US coalition around 12.40am, as ISIS was grouping its forces. Only material damages were incurred," it said in a tweet.

Eastern Syria was mostly held by ISIS until last year, when two rival military campaigns swept it from most of its territory, leaving only remnants in remote pockets of the desert.

The campaign by the Syrian army, backed by Russia and Iran, operated mostly on the west side of the Euphrates river.

A rival campaign by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias, backed by the US-led coalition, mostly took territory on the east side of the river.

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