U.S. Coalition Rejects Syrian Claim of Attack on Army Base

  • Syria urges the UN to take `immediate action' to stop attacks
  • `We were not anywhere near that,' U.S. spokesman Kirby says

The U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State militants rejected claims that it had targeted a Syrian army base in the country’s east.

Syria’s government earlier accused coalition planes of killing three soldiers and wounding 13 in an airstrike in the eastern province of Deir Ezzour. A Foreign Ministry statement carried by the state-run SANA news agency urged the United Nations Security Council to take “immediate action” to prevent future attacks.

“This was not a U.S. strike,” John Kirby, the U.S. State Department spokesman, told reporters in Washington on Monday. “We were not anywhere near that.”

The U.S. is certain that Russian aircraft struck the base operated by its ally Syria, according to an American official who asked not to be identified discussing operational knowledge. American officials have described Russia’s targeting as “sloppy” as it defends the regime of President Bashar al-Assad with airstrikes against groups it calls terrorists.

Coalition and Russian warplanes have regularly bombed Deir Ezzour in recent weeks, with the former targeting oil fields run by Islamic State militants. Brett McGurk, U.S. President Barack Obama’s special envoy to the coalition, said in a post on his Twitter account that no strikes had been conducted within 55 kilometers (34 miles) of the Syrian base in Deir Ezzour.

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