US Drone Destroys Russian Tank in Eastern Syria

14 February, 2018, 18:56 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Syrian pro-government members hold a position as they stand on the back of an armoured vehicle in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor

"More than 200 contract soldiers, mostly Russians fighting on behalf of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, died in a failed attack on a base held by USA and mainly Kurdish forces in the oil-rich Deir Ezzor region, two of the Russians said. I'm not willing to say that the Russians have lost influence or gained influence". I can't give you anything on that.

USA secretary of state Rex Tillerson is headed to the area this week so perhaps we'll get some clarity on our nation's foreign policy goals.

Pro-Assad fighters approached the US-held base in a "battalion-sized formation supported by artillery, tanks, multiple-launch rocket systems and mortars" on 7 February, Col Thomas F Veale, a spokesman for the U.S. military, said in a statement.

On Tuesday, US Central Command said US forces came under fire from a tank, and that they responded with strikes from drones and B-52 bombers against the attackers. The Guardian reported air force Lt Gen Jeffrey Harrigan as saying that US advisers had been in an operating base when they came under tank fire.

The Russian-made tank in the crosshairs of a United States drone.

While the USA has claimed all of its recent attacks on pro-Syrian forces in the country as "self-defense", the claim rings hollow since they've killed in excess of 100 people while sustaining no casualties of their own, and doubly so in this latest case because they were defending a drone by killing three soldiers of unknown origin. With the territory of Isis shrinking as they are pushed out, it leaves all of the various nations now acting in Syria without a common enemy and increases the possibility of clashes.

It is not clear who was driving the tank and U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis played down the incident, saying: "This could just be a local couple of guys doing something". Reports in Russian media have said Wagner - a shadowy organization known as Russia's answer to Blackwater - was hired by Assad or his allies to guard Syrian energy assets in exchange for oil concessions.

Mr Assad is backed by Russian Federation, as well as Shia militia groups themselves backed by Iran, while the United States is supporting the Kurdish SDF forces who have been a crucial ally in battling Isis - the major aim in Syria for the administration of President Donald Trump. USA coalition forces were in "regular communication with Russian counterparts before, during and after the thwarted, unprovoked attack", he wrote.

"Officially denying deaths of armed Russian citizens that fight in Syria by the leadership of Russia is absolutely unacceptable".

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The Interfax news agency reported that a Cossack group in the westernmost Kalningrad region said a member named Vladimir Loginov was killed in combat in the Deir el-Zour province.

Meanwhile Israeli military assets - funded by USA taxpayers - are engaged in a proxy war of their own in Syria against Iran, another supporter of the Assad regime.

Ionov said not all those killed were Russian: Some of the paid fighters came from other countries that were once part of the Soviet Union.

The Pentagon said that the attack wounded only one SDF soldier.

The drone incident follows an unconfirmed Bloomberg report that USA forces killed more than 200 Russian mercenaries in an attack on a US-held military base and refinery in Syria last week. The New York Times said that "dozens" of Russians were believed to be killed.

Syria is simply not within our nation's sphere of interest, nor is there anything to be gained by continued USA military involvement in any of the proxy wars now being waged on its soil.

Officials in both Moscow and Washington remained coy about the deaths, which would be an embarrassment for both countries if it turns out that Russian fighters were part of a unit that attacked a military force with American troops. It also quoted Alexander Averin, leader of extreme leftist group Another Russia, as saying that one of its activists, Kirill Ananyev, was killed by the USA strike near Khusham. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday: "We have no information regarding other Russians who may be in Syria".

And responding to a further BBC question, the spokesman said: " And, of course, you have to realise that many countries of the world have quite large numbers of our compatriots - of Russians - and, of course, it's hard to have detailed data.

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