Britain admits involvement in strikes which hit Syrian troops

Britain admits involvement in strikes which hit Syrian troops
2 min read
19 September, 2016
Britain said on Monday that it took part in US-led airstrikes on Syria, described as a 'flagrant aggression' by Bashar al-Assad.
Airstrikes earlier this week targeted IS but hit the Syrian regime [Getty]

Britain said on Monday that it took part in US-led airstrikes on Syria that sparked a major US-Russia row that threatened the fragile ceasefire, which has now ended in the war-torn country.

"We can confirm that the UK participated in the coalition airstrike south of Deir Az-Zour on Saturday, and we are fully co-operating with the coalition investigation," a defence ministry spokesman said.

"The UK would not intentionally target Syrian military units," the spokesman said.

Russia said the strikes killed 62 Syrian soldiers and injured around a hundred others, accusing the US of undermining a ceasefire deal struck in Geneva a week ago.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said the number of regime troops killed was at least 90.

Washington said coalition forces believed they were hitting a fighting position held by the Islamic State group but has also said it will investigate the incident.

Britain's Press Association news agency reported that an unmanned Reaper drone may have been involved.

Australia earlier said it was one of several coalition countries whose aircraft took part and offered its "condolences to the families of any Syrian personnel killed or wounded".

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose regime has killed over 180,000 civilians since the conflict erupted in 2011, described the raid on his forces as a "flagrant American aggression".

Speaking to Iran's deputy foreign minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari, Assad accused world powers of supporting "terrorist organisations" in Syria like the Islamic State group.