Comment by the Information and Press Department on US-led international anti-ISIS coalition’s air strike against Syrian government forces’ positions near Deir ez-Zor

September 18, 2016

On September 17, warplanes from the US-led international anti-ISIS coalition entered Syrian air space from Iraq and hit Syrian government forces’ positions near Deir ez-Zor airport. Over 60 Syrian servicemen were killed and over 100 wounded. Indicatively, illegal paramilitary units attacked Syrian army units after the first strikes commenced. The Syrian army units, which have been surrounded for many months, are defending the civilian population of this ancient city from the terrorists.
Moscow is very concerned about this incident. We are urging our US partners to conduct the most thorough investigation, as they say, to effectively rule out any similar incidents in the future. In this connection, we do not appreciate the unconstructive and unclear US stance at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council that was convened on Russia’s initiative. Not only did US representatives fail to adequately explain the incident, but as usual, they tried to distort the situation.
We see this incident as the predictable result of the persistent US refusal to cooperate closely with Russia in the fight against ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist groups affiliated with them. Moscow has been urging Washington to do this in line with the September 9 Geneva agreements between Russia and the United States.
The operations of coalition pilots, who, we hope, did not act on Washington’s orders, are on the verge of criminal negligence and are directly pandering to ISIS terrorists.
We are particularly alarmed that this incident happened against the backdrop of further documented violations of the ceasefire agreement by illegal paramilitary Syrian opposition units that, as the US claims, have joined the ceasefire. We once again insistently urge Washington to exert the necessary pressure on US-patronised illegal paramilitary units and force them to unfailingly honour the ceasefire. Otherwise the implementation of the entire range of Russian-US agreements reached in Geneva on September 9 will be in jeopardy, and this would not be in the interests of the international community.