More than 60 Syrian government soldiers were killed and dozens of others injured Saturday in US-led coalition air strikes on an air base in the east of the war-torn country, the Russian army said.
“Warplanes from the international anti-militant coalition carried out four air strikes today against Syrian forces surrounded by ISIS in the Deir Ezzor air base,” the army said in a statement.
“Sixty-two Syrian soldiers were killed and a hundred others were injured in these strikes.”
“Straight after the coalition’s strikes, ISIS militants launched an offensive,” said the statement, adding that “fierce fighting against the terrorists” ensued nearby.
“If these strikes were due to an error in the target coordinates, that would be a direct consequence of the US’ refusal to coordinate with Russia its fight against the terrorist groups in Syria,” it said.
The Russian defense ministry said fierce battle was being waged between the Syrian army and ISIS militants near Deir al-Zor airport.
The ministry also said if the US-led coalition bombing of the Syrian Army a mistake, then it showed evidence of US stubbornness for Washington’s refusal to coordinate its actions in Syria with Moscow.
The Observatory’s death toll
At least 80 Syrian soldiers were killed in the air strike, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group said, citing a source at the airport.
Russian jets had been bombing in the same area at the same time, the Observatory said. The source at the airport said the air strike had paved the way for ISIS fighters to overrun the position at Jebel Tharda, the Observatory said.
It said earlier that only 30 soldiers had been killed, citing the same source.
Russia blames US if truce collapses
Earlier, Russia’s defense ministry on Saturday said US would be blamed if truce in Syria collapses, describing Washington as not ready to force Syrian rebels under its control to implement the ceasefire.
“The United States and so-called moderate (rebel) groups under their control did not implement any of the obligations taken under the Geneva agreements,” Russian news agencies quoted Lieutenant-General Viktor Poznikhir as saying.
“If the United States does not take steps needed to fulfil its obligations under the Sept. 9 agreement, then all the responsibility for any collapse of the ceasefire in Syria would lie with the United States,” he added.
The defense ministry said there have been 199 times violations since ceasefire came into force on Monday, dubbing the situation in the conflict-torn country as worsening especially in Aleppo and Hama provinces.
It also said that Syrian town of Muaddami near the capital Damascus was ready to receive humanitarian convoy on Sunday.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also told US Secretary of State John Kerry that military officials from the United States should be fully involved in monitoring a ceasefire in Syria, Russia’s foreign ministry said on Saturday.
In a phone call with Kerry, Lavrov also proposed that documents related to the Syria ceasefire agreement should be published to avoid “any double meaning” over how the deal should be implemented, the ministry said in a statement.
Meanwhile, a senior rebel official in Aleppo warned on Saturday that the ceasefire “will not hold out as air strikes and shelling continued in some places and promised aid deliveries failed to come through.
The ceasefire is the result of an agreement between Russia, which backs Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with air power, and the United States, which supports some rebel groups, and has cooled fighting since coming into effect last Monday.
On Friday, Washington and Moscow agreed to extend the ceasefire.
“The truce, as we have warned, and we told the (US) State Department – will not hold out,” the rebel official said, pointing to the continued presence of a UN aid convoy at the Turkish border awaiting permission to travel to Aleppo.
“It is not possible for the party (Russia) that wages war against a people to strive to achieve a truce, as it is also not possible for it to be a sponsor of this agreement while it bombs night and day, while on the other side, the other party – America – has the role of spectator,” he said.
Aid is then meant to reach battered Aleppo, where an estimated 250,000 people in the rebel-held half of the city are living under government siege.
But forty trucks carrying desperately-needed food aid were still stuck on the border with Turkey on Saturday.
“Still no progress, but the UN is ready to move once we get the go ahead,” said David Swanson, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The UN has said it cannot deliver aid until “all guarantees are in place for safe delivery.”
AFP’s correspondent in Aleppo’s eastern districts said the city was calm on Saturday after a few rocket attacks overnight.
Intermittent shelling and clashes resumed overnight in Syria, a monitor said on Saturday, testing the strained truce.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, “limited shelling and clashes have resumed on several fronts in Syria.”
In particular, fighting erupted between rebels and pro-regime forces in the opposition-held suburb of Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, and air strikes hit several towns in the central province of Homs.
In the coastal province of Latakia, fresh regime air strikes hit rebel groups, including fighters from Syria’s former Al-Qaeda affiliate, in the flashpoint region of Jabal Akrad.
“So far, Aleppo city is still the calmest of them all,” said Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman.
Under the truce deal negotiated by Moscow and Washington, fighting is to halt across the country except in areas where militants are present.
By Staff writer, Al Arabiya English, Al Arabiya
(With AFP, Reuters)
US Alliance Aircrafts Attacks Syrian Army Position in Deir Ezzor, Israeli enemy targets position in Quneitra
Damascus/Quneitra, SANA – The General Command of the Army and Armed Forces said that US alliance aircrafts targeted at 5 PM on Saturday a Syrian Arab Army position in al-Tharda Mountain in the surroundings of Deir Ezzor Airport, causing losses in lives and equipment and clearly paved the way for ISIS terrorists to attack the position and take control of it.
In a statement, the General Command said that this act is a serious and blatant aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic and its army, and constitutes conclusive evidence that the United States and its allies support ISIS and other terrorist organizations, stressing that this act reveals the falseness of their claims of fighting terrorism.
Israeli enemy targets position in the surroundings of Khan Arnaba town in Quneitra countryside
SANA reporter in Quneitra said that the Israeli enemy attacked a position in the surroundings of Khan Arnaba town in Quneitra countryside within the framework of its direct support to the Takfiri terrorist organizations that commit massacres and crimes against locals in Quneitra countryside.
On September 13th, at 01:00 AM, the Syrian Air Defense Forces repelled the Israeli enemy’s air force that attacked a Syrian military position in Quneitra countryside, shooting down an Israeli warplane to the southwest of Quneitra and an Israeli drone to the west of Sa’sa’ town in the southwestern countryside of Damascus.
Qabas / Hazem Sabbagh