An air strike made up of coalition of nations but led by the U.S. that reportedly killed dozens of Syrian soldiers over the weekend has prompted a number of moves, including an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council.
The incident, according to reports, has threatened the ceasefire that had been in place and the U.S. military immediately halted attacks on what it believed were Islamic State locations in Syria after Russia told the U.S. Syrian individuals may had been hit.
On Monday, however, a report from the Middle East Media Research Institute documented that Syrians were accusing the U.S. of intentionally hitting the soldiers.
The claims came from several sources, including statements from President Bashar Al-Assad’s political and media adviser Buthaina Sha’ban, who said in a report from the French News agency AFP, “The raid was deliberate. Everything was premeditated. ISIS knew about it, and when it advanced the raids stopped.”
But the allegation was most prominent in the Syrian government daily Al-Thawra, where columnist Khaled Al-Ashhab said U.S. forces possessed technological means to prevent such events.
He wrote, “Why do people condemn the American airstrike and why are they surprised by it? After all, the U.S. has been bombing the Arab Syrian army for over five years by means of others [i.e., Assad’s enemies in Syria]. The only difference is that, this time, the finger that pulled the trigger was strictly American. This time, just like in over 100 occasions in the past, its planes ‘made a mistake.’ Instead of airdropping weapons and food to ISIS, they dropped bombs on the Syrian army. It’s the same thing.”
He continued, “So it was just a mistake, the U.S. army claimed yesterday. An accident. Would the terrorist global aggression be targeting Syria for the past five years had the U.S. not deliberately pushed it towards Syria, from the north and the south?
“Where would ISIS, Jabhat Al-Nusra and their ilk acquire all these weapons, had America not made occasional ‘mistakes’ when ferrying [weapons] across the border or dropping them from the sky? It’s quite amazing that America’s coordinate[-system] technology could not identify ISIS’s convoys, only the units of the Arab Syrian army.”
He charged, “This [claim] is ridiculous, of course, just [like the claim] that the U.S. was unable to distinguish between the terrorists and the ‘moderates,’ on the grounds that their [troops] intermingled. Does the Syrian army mix with ISIS, so that even the Americans are unable to understand what is happening? Or have the achievements of the [Syrian] army exposed that the Americans are mixing with ISIS?”
The attack developed on Saturday, and Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook told reporters via email that Russians had not expressed any concern when told that coalition attackers would be in the strike area.
The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, said, “Russia really needs to stop the cheap point scoring and the grandstanding and the stunts and focus on what matters, which is implementation of something we negotiated in good faith with them.”
She said an investigation was begun but it was not the intent of the U.S. to hit Syrians.
Reports suggested the U.S. attack killed more than 60 Syrian soldiers.
Australia also participated in the strikes, reports said.