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The Latest: Russian says US strike in Syria an assets grab

February 8, 2018
Associated Press

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the situation in Syria (all times local):

2:55 p.m.

The Russian military says a U.S. strike on government-backed troops in eastern Syria reflects Washington's efforts to make a grab for the nation's economic assets.

The overnight attack, which killed about 100 according to a U.S. military, came when hundreds of attackers launched an assault on U.S.-backed forces known as the Syrian Democratic Forces who were accompanied by U.S. advisers in the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday the U.S. strike wounded 25 pro-government Syrian volunteers. It noted that the government-backed Syrian forces had failed to coordinate their action with the Russian military prior to launching the mission.

It said the incident "again showed that the U.S. is maintaining its illegal presence in Syria not to fight the Islamic State group, but to seize and hold Syrian economic assets."

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2:40 p.m.

Syrian rescue workers and activists say at least 19 civilians, including a medic and children, have been killed in relentless government strikes on the opposition-held region near the capital Damascus.

The Syrian Civil Defense, known as White Helmets, has recorded at least 19 civilians killed Thursday in at least six towns in the eastern Ghouta area in a combination of artillery and airstrikes. Eastern Ghouta has an estimated 400,000 residents, who are also trapped by a tightening government siege and critical shortage of medical supplies and food.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists on the ground, said it has documented at least 23 civilians killed so far. It said the dead includes a medic and at least three children and eight women.

The U.N. Security Council is expected to hear a briefing on Thursday and then hold closed-door consultations on the growing humanitarian crisis in Syria and calls for a 30-day cease fire.

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11:15 a.m.

Syria's state media say the U.S.-led coalition has bombed government-backed troops in eastern Syria, citing reports of dozens killed and wounded.

The official state news agency SANA reported on Thursday that the overnight attack hit tribal fighters in Khusham, a town in the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province.

SANA says the local fighters were battling IS militants and the U.S.-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in the area. The U.S. military said late Wednesday it launched airstrikes on Syrian government-backed troops after as many as 500 attackers began what appeared to be a coordinated assault on the SDF accompanied by U.S. advisers in Deir el-Zour province.

SANA called it an "aggression." The state Al-Ikhbariyah TV said there were reports that dozens were killed.

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1:30 a.m.

Turkish officials say the leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran will meet in Istanbul to discuss peace efforts for Syria.

The officials said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed to the summit during a telephone call on Thursday.

It was not immediately clear when the Istanbul meeting would take place.

The Turkish officials said two leaders also agreed that efforts to create "observation posts" in Syria's Idlib province as part of a "de-escalation" agreement between Turkey, Russia and Iran should gain momentum.

They discussed the humanitarian situation in Eastern Ghouta, just outside Damascus, where dozens have been killed in aerial strikes in the past few days.

The officials provided the information on condition of anonymity in line with government rules.

 
 
 

 

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