Coali­tion raid kills 62 Syr­ian sol­diers

The Myanmar Times - - World -

US Am­bas­sador Sa­man­tha Power ex­pressed re­gret over the US-led coali­tion strike on a Syr­ian army post, but dis­missed Rus­sia’s call for an emer­gency Se­cu­rity Coun­cil meet­ing as a “stunt”.

Rus­sia called the ur­gent meet­ing to de­mand an ex­pla­na­tion from the United States af­ter the bomb­ing killed at least 62 sol­diers in east­ern Syria near the Is­lamic State group-con­trolled town of Deir Ez­zor.

“We are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dent,” Ms Power said.

“If we de­ter­mine that we did in­deed strike Syr­ian mil­i­tary per­son­nel, that was not our in­ten­tion. We re­gret the loss of life,” she added.

Ms Power de­scribed Rus­sia’s re­quest for the ur­gent meet­ing as a “stunt, re­plete with moral­ism and grand­stand­ing”, say­ing Moscow should in­stead de­mand a meet­ing with the As­sad regime to press for peace in Syria.

In an ex­change rem­i­nis­cent of Cold War-era ver­bal joust­ing, Rus­sian Am­bas­sador Vi­taly Churkin ac­cused the US of vi­o­lat­ing agree­ments that it would not tar­get Syr­ian po­si­tions and said the ac­tion was a “bad omen” for a US-Rus­sian deal on halt­ing the fight­ing in Syria.

Wash­ing­ton and Moscow reached an agree­ment this month that calls for a cease­fire, the de­liv­ery of aid and the joint tar­get­ing of Is­lamist rebels.

The cease­fire went into ef­fect on Septem­ber 12, but con­voys of aid have yet to reach civil­ians be­sieged by Syr­ian forces in the city of Aleppo.

Asked if the air strike on the Syr­ian army would kill off the US-Rus­sian deal, Mr Churkin said, “This is a very big ques­tion mark.”

“I do hope that they will find a way to con­vince us and ev­ery­body else that they are se­ri­ous about political set­tle­ment in Syria, se­ri­ous about fight­ing ter­ror­ists,” he said.

The Pen­tagon had ad­mit­ted the US-led coali­tion fight­ing the Is­lamic State (IS) may have struck Syr­ian mil­i­tary po­si­tions.

“Coali­tion forces be­lieved they were strik­ing a Daesh fight­ing po­si­tion,” Cen­tral Com­mand, known as Cent­com, said in a state­ment, us­ing an al­ter­nate term for the IS group.

The sit­u­a­tion in Syria is de­te­ri­o­rat­ing, the Rus­sian mil­i­tary said, adding that the US would be re­spon­si­ble if the frag­ile cease­fire in force col­lapses this week.

Rus­sia said it was “very con­cerned” by the strikes that tar­geted the Syr­ian army, which has been con­sis­tently fight­ing the IS. –

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