Russian, Iranian fighters killed and injured in Syria airstrikes
Russian soldiers have reportedly been injured in a Turkish drone strike near a Kurdish-controlled town in northeastern Syria, while airstrikes believed to be by the international anti-Islamic State group coalition have struck pro-Iranian militias in eastern Syria, killing and injuring 14 fighters.
The news agency ANHA, which is close to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), reported that three Russian soldiers and three soldiers from the Assad regime were injured when a drone believed to be of Turkish origin struck a Russian military position near the town of Derbassiyeh in northeastern Syria.
ANHA published video of injured soldiers in Russian uniform being evacuated for medical treatment after the strike. It said that another Turkish drone had bombed Derbassiyeh itself a few hours before the strike on the Russian position.
The Syrian Kurdish Self-Administration’s security forces, known as “Asayish” said in a statement that “investigations were ongoing to determine the reasons why a position belonging to the Russian forces was targeted.”On Wednesday evening, Russian planes bombed the Turkish-controlled city of Al-Bab in northern Syria in a rare event, killing one civilian and injuring 11 others. Some Twitter users drew a connection between this and the strike on the Russian position, according to the Syrian news website Enab Baladi but there has been no official statement from either Turkey or Russia.
Iranian militias ‘targeted by US-led coalition’
In a separate event, airstrikes hit positions belonging to Assad regime forces and their Iranian militia allies in the desert near Deir al-Zour in eastern Syria on Friday morning.
Local sources told The New Arab’s Arabic-language service that warplanes carried out several strikes on Iranian and regime positions in the desert near the towns of Subaikhan and Al-Salihiya east of Deir al-Zour, killing or injuring 14 fighters.
The sources did not specify how many fighters were killed or how many were injured but said that they believed that the planes which carried out the strikes were from the US-led anti-IS coalition.
Iranian-sponsored militias, which have a strong presence in eastern Syria, have been targeted by dozens of airstrikes before, either from the US-led coalition or Israel and scores of militiamen have died as a result.
However, Iranian military spokesman Abul Fazal Shekarchi said in a statement on Thursday that only nine Iranian soldiers had been killed in Israeli strikes in Syria.
Iran and its militia allies have been key backers of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime ever since 2011, when the Syrian conflict broke out after peaceful anti-Assad protests were brutally suppressed.