Jets strike US-backed forces in Syria

Six fight­ers from Syr­ian Demo­cratic Forces wounded in air strikes by Rus­sian forces

Gulf News - - Middle East -

US-backed mili­tias said they came un­der at­tack yes­ter­day from Rus­sian jets and Syr­ian gov­ern­ment forces in Syria’s Deir Al Zor bor­der prov­ince, a fo­cus of an in­creas­ingly com­plex con­flict.

The strikes wounded six fight­ers from the Syr­ian Demo­cratic Forces (SDF), ac­cord­ing to the al­liance of mostly Kur­dish and Arab mili­tias fight­ing along­side a US-led mil­i­tary coali­tion.

The United States and Rus­sia are back­ing sep­a­rate of­fen­sives in Syria’s multi-sided con­flict — with both sides ad­vanc­ing against Daesh in the east­ern re­gion that borders Iraq.

The sep­a­rate as­saults by the Rus­sian-sup­ported Syr­ian gov­ern­ment and the US-sup­ported SDF have raised fears that clashes that could stoke ten­sions be­tween the com­pet­ing world pow­ers.

“Our forces east of the Euphrates were hit with an at­tack from the Rus­sian air­craft and Syr­ian regime forces, tar­get­ing our units in the in­dus­trial zone,” the SDF said in a state­ment. There was no im­me­di­ate com­ment from the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment or from Moscow about the air strikes.

Both of­fen­sives are con­verg­ing on Daesh from op­po­site sides of the Euphrates river — the Syr­ian army with al­lied forces from the west and the SDF from the east. The Rus­sian- and US-backed of­fen­sives against Daesh in Syria have mostly stayed out of each other’s way as the two states seek to avoid con­flict.

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