Syrian SDF fighters accuse Russia of airstrikes on their units

DEIR EZ-ZOR, Syria (September 16, 2017) – The US-backed Kurdish-Arab alliance SDF in Syria accuses Russia of air strikes on its fighters for the first time. Accordingly, fighters near Deir ez-Zor were injured by the Russian military. Russia denies the allegations.

Location of the alleged Russian airstrikes

The Kurdish-Arab alliance SDF in Syria, supported by the USA, accused Russia for the first time of air strikes on its fighters. 6 SDF fighters were injured during attacks by the Syrian and allied Russian forces near Deir ez-Zor on Saturday. The Russian army rejected the accusations.

“In a time when the brave fighters of the SDF are winning big victories against the Islamic State in Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor (…), some sides are trying to create obstacles to our progress” the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) explained. The attack on their fighters took place early Saturday morning in Al-Sina, an industrial area northeast of the currently highly disputed provincial capital Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria.

A spokesman of the Russian military base in Hmeimim in Western Syria reacted with irritation to the accusations. “That’s not possible,” said Igor Konashenkov. “Why should we bomb them?”

Syrian Democratic Forces do not coordinate their operations with the Syrian government or with Russia

The jihadist militia Islamic State (IS) has controlled large parts of the province of Deir ez-Zor and the provincial capital with the same name since 2014. Currently both the pro-government troops and the Kurdish-Arab SDF alliance are leading an offensive to liberate the city. The moderate fighters are supported in their offensives by the US-led anti-IS coalition, the Syrian army is supported by Russia and Iran.

According to their own statements, the SDF fighters do not coordinate their missions in Deir ez-Zor with Damascus or Moscow. However, according to the Anti-IS Coalition, a line has been defined which both sides must not cross to avoid confrontation.

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