Russian Federation says 5 citizens probably killed by United States strike in Syria

Sean Reid
February 18, 2018

The U.S. military responded with overwhelming force in eastern Syria when Russian-backed fighters loyal to Assad began what the Pentagon is calling an unprovoked attack; Jennifer Griffin reports for 'Special Report'.

"Preliminary data shows the armed confrontation, the reasons of which are now being investigated, could have resulted in deaths of five people, presumably Russian citizens", the spokeswoman said, adding that their citizenship still needs to be checked.

She added that the citizenship of those killed had not been verified, but clarified that they were not Russian military personnel.

Despite joint pledges to work together to destroy ISIS and other terror networks, Russia and the United States find themselves on opposite sides of the ongoing conflict; with USA forces equipping Syrian rebels and Russian forces supporting the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

According to some Russian media, the USA strike was in response to an attack by a pro-Assad militia supported by Russian mercenaries on a gas field controlled by Arab and Kurdish forces allied with Washington.

'It continued to move, so we ... executed self-defense rules of engagement to protect ourselves.' For the most part, the US-led coalition has managed to skirt the edges of Syria's civil war by staying focused on the Islamic State group.

Neither the Kremlin nor the Russian Ministry of Defense talks about private military contractors in Syria.

"We're convinced that if there are going to be provocative actions in third countries somewhere in Europe or in other places, if this is going to be an undeclared war, you're going to have these green men", Hrytsak said. Thus, the only thing preventing a full-blown diplomatic crisis that pits the US and Russian Federation directly and firmly against one another, is the use of labels such as "contractor" and "adviser".

Russia's military intervention in Syria, launched in 2015, has been directed at propping up Moscow's principal ally in the Middle East and impeding the US-backed attempt to carry out regime-change through the arming and support of Al Qaeda-linked militias.

Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, blamed Iran for the latest round of fighting and said advisers from the Islamic Republic and its ally, the Lebanese Hezbollah, planned on staying in Syria.

News media highlighted the denounciations of the Russian Center for Reconciliation in Syria, on the preparation of a provocation on the part of extremist groups in the province of Idlib, where they transferred 20 gas cylinders full of chlorine. But Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other USA officials said they had no such information on casualties, and the Kremlin did not confirm any Russian deaths.

Russian media said Russian private contractors and pro-government forces advanced on oil fields in the eastern Deir el-Zour province and were targeted by the United States.

In its statement about the attack, Russia's Defense Ministry seemed to refer to the refinery, accusing the US of using its "illegal presence" in Syria as an excuse to "seize economic assets" instead of fighting terrorists. "Disseminated reports about hundreds, dozens of dead Russians is classic disinformation", the Russian Interfax quoted an anonymous Russian Foreign Ministry source.

"Among the first to spread this information within their channels were Syrian anti-government militants, who for some reason took a photo of the surface of Mars, put on it an image of destroyed military equipment, perhaps even Ukrainian, dated June 2014".

"The Russians professed that they were not aware when we called them about that force that had crossed [the Euphrates]".

Other reports by

Discuss This Article