Al Assad calls raid that hit Syria army ‘flagrant American aggression’

Regime believes the US-led coalition carried out an ‘intentional’ strike to support Daesh in the area

17:27 September 19, 2016

Damascus: Syrian President Bashar Al Assad on Monday described the deadly US-led coalition raid on his forces in eastern Syria at the weekend as “flagrant American aggression”.

Speaking to Iran’s deputy foreign minister Hussain Jaberi Ansari, Al Assad accused world powers of supporting “terrorist organisations” in Syria like the Daesh terror group.

“Every time the Syrian state makes tangible progress either on the ground or towards national reconciliation, anti-Syrian states increase their support of terrorist organisations,” Al Assad said in comments published by state news agency SANA.

“The latest example of this is the flagrant American aggression on one of the Syrian army’s positions in Deir Al Zor to the benefit of Daesh” on Saturday, he added.

The US-led raid on Saturday evening hit a Syrian army post near the eastern city of Deir Al Zor, where government forces have been fighting off Daesh terrorists since last year.

At least 62 Syrian soldiers were killed in the strike. The Pentagon admitted it may have hit Syrian troops but said it had been tracking a Daesh position there.

“Anti-Syrian forces are expending all their energy and capabilities to prolong the terrorist war against Syria,” Al Assad said.

The Syrian government has accused the US-led coalition — which has been bombing Daesh in Syria for more than two years — of carrying out an “intentional” strike to support Daesh in the area.

In a phone interview from Damascus on Sunday, senior Al Assad adviser Buthaina Shaaban said that the government “believes that the strike was intentional”.

“None of the facts on the ground show that what happened was a mistake or a coincidence,” she said.

Britain’s Ministry of Defence meanwhile confirmed that it participated in the airstrike — even as it stressed it would never intentionally target Syria military units.

The ministry said it can “confirm that the UK participated in the recent coalition airstrike in Syria, south of Deir Al Zor on Saturday, and we are fully cooperating with the coalition investigation”.