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U.S.-Russian Military Tensions On the Rise in Syria

Sept. 26, 2017 (EIRNS)—Yesterday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov laid the death of a Russian three-star general in Deir Ezzor, Syria at the door step of the U.S. military. The Defense Ministry reported that Lt. Gen. Valery Asapov, reported to have been leading a group of Russian military advisors providing Syrian commanders with assistance during the operation aimed at the liberation of the city of Deir Ezzor, was killed by ISIS mortar shelling on Sept. 24.

"The tragedy that we witnessed, the death of a Russian commander, is the price paid in blood for this double-dealing in the U.S. policy [in the war on terror],"

Ryabkov said, reported TASS. Russia is concerned by the fact that the United States demonstrates the opposite of its declared intention to eliminate the ISIS/Daesh terrorist group, he went on.

"This fact is evident and it is very worrisome, we were convinced yet again that the U.S. side, declaring verbally that it is interested in eliminating Daesh and defeating terrorists in Syria, in practice demonstrates the opposite, that in the end of the day some political and geopolitical tasks are more important for Washington than what has been declared in the counterterrorist fight,"

he said.

The U.S., not surprisingly, is denying the Russian accusations. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said that the United States will continue to de-conflict operations with Russia, and recent statements made by the Russian officials are "untrue and unhelpful."

The U.S.-led coalition is also denying the Russian Defense Ministry accusation, made on Sept. 24, that the United States is helping the Syrian Democratic Forces cross ISIS territory without fighting ISIS. A coalition spokesman told TASS that the statement is false, and that the Russians ought to stop talking about the locations of U.S. forces on the ground in Syria for the sake of speeding up the defeat of ISIS.

The Russians, in turn, denied that Russian aircraft had attacked the SDF in Deir Ezzor province. Defense Ministry spokesman Gen. Igor Konashenkov said, yesterday, that Russian Aerospace Forces only attack militant targets identified through reconnaissance and other means.

The Russian air contingent in Syria is also engaged in a furious bombing campaign against Al Nusra in Idlib province, for which they’re being accused of bombing civilians, accusations which are apparently originating from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in London.

"The aircraft of Russian Aerospace Forces do not strike settlements in the Syrian Arab Republic. The statements of the Observatory citing unnamed ’witnesses’ and ’volunteers’ are unsubstantiated as usual and serve as ’information cover-up’ for actions of Al Nusra Front militants,"

Konashenkov said. Konashenkov explained that the targets included underground bases of militants, located far from residential neighborhoods, field ammunition depots, armored vehicles, multiple launch rocket systems and sweatshops for loading guns on cars.