U.S. airstrike destroys Russian-made tank in Syria
U.S. airstrike destroys Russian-made tank in Syria
Dramatic moment US fighter jet obliterates Russian tank in Syria raid that wiped out hundreds of fighters and dozens of Vladimir Putin’s soldiers
18 February, 2018, 07:10
The U.S. airstrike took place the same day an Iranian drone was shot down over Israel on Saturday, prompting a counter-attack by the Israeli Air Force into Syria against Iranian and regime targets. Harrigian was careful to avoid speculating who was inside the tank, though the T-72 is widely used by the Syrian army.
Until Thursday, officials for both countries said they had no information on Russian losses in the clash, which came when pro-government forces attacked positions of the US -backed Syrian Kurdish fighters and faced a ferocious USA counterattack. Russian Federation says it had nothing to do with the attack and that it would not engage U.S. forces.
Russian news reports say at least several private Russian military contractors have been killed by a USA strike in Syria. One U.S. official and three Russian officials familiar with the incident all corroborated it with Bloomberg, telling the outlet of the Syrian forces' failed attack against a U.S. -held military base and refinery.
The attack began last Wednesday when pro-Assad fighters approached in a "battalion-sized formation supported by artillery, tanks, multiple-launch rocket systems and mortars", Col. Thomas F. Veale, a spokesman for the U.S. military, said in a statement to Bloomberg. For reasons that remain unclear, Syrian government troops and some Russian nationals appear to have attacked a coalition position, near Al Tabiyeh, Syria.
The US maintains regular contact with the Russian military and has established hotlines to ensure the forces don't come in contact, but reports suggest an increasing presence of Russian contractors in Syria.
Russia's air campaign in Syria, which began in September 2015, has been instrumental in turning the tide of the civil war, that began in 2011, in favour of President Bashar al-Assad. Like many contractors who have gone to Syria, he was a member of a Cossack group of ultranationalists who have also fought in eastern Ukraine.
"Russian officers maintained continuous communication with United States military officials through the deconfliction hotline", ISW wrote, "to obfuscate Russia's direct role in the incident".
In that incident, USA special operations forces and allied Syrian fighters came under attack by a group of 500 Assad regime-backed fighters equipped with tanks, artillery and mortars. Afghan war will cost B in 2018 United States expands air campaign to northern Afghanistan Mattis defends plans for new nuclear capabilities MORE described the attack as "perplexing". "As the hostile forces turned west and retreated, we ceased fire, ' Harrigian, speaking from his headquarters in Qatar, said in a video teleconference with reporters at the Pentagon".
Also on Wednesday, Mekdad said the Kurdish enclave in northwestern Syria under Turkish attack is "is an integral part of the Syrian territories", adding that they "will never give up one centimetre of these territories".
Russia's Foreign Ministry said Thursday that five Russian citizens were killed by a US strike in Syria on February 7, the first government confirmation from Moscow or Washington of Russian nationals being killed by USA military action on the complicated Syrian battlefield.
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