Accusation US Coalition Involved in Syrian Bridge Destruction ‘False’ - Pentagon

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The Russian accusation of the US-led coalition’s possible involvement in the destruction of a key bridge over the Euphrates River in Syria are false, Pentagon spokesperson Eric Pahon told Sputnik on Friday.

"This accusation is absolutely untrue, without merit and false," Pahon said.

The Russian Defense Ministry said earlier on Friday that a sudden rise in the water level has destroyed a key bridge over the Euphrates that separates government and US-backed militant forces in Syria’s east, suggesting this could have been intentional.

READ MORE: US Military Presence in Syria Intended to Thwart Russia, Iran — Experts

The 210-meter (689ft) long bridge near the Syrian city of Deir Ez-Zor was built by the Russian military last September to move troops to the eastern bank controlled by rebel forces allied with the US-led coalition.

US forces, accompanied by Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters, drive their armoured vehicles near the northern Syrian village of Darbasiyah, on the border with Turkey on April 28, 2017. (File) - Sputnik International
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The Russian Defense Ministry-affiliated Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) newspaper reported that Euphrates waters suddenly rose by several meters on January 6, causing the current to gain in speed significantly.

The paper reported that as a result, the bridge was destroyed the next day. An investigation by Syrian experts found that the abrupt rise in the water level was caused by the intentional opening of floodgates at the Tabqa Dam in the territory held by groups controlled by the US-led coalition. The probe concluded there was no need to dump waters.

"It cannot be ruled out that this was a barbaric attempt by the US side to use someone else to prevent Syria's lawful government from holding its positions on the left bank of the Euphrates River," the ministry's paper said.

The Russian ministry said some 8,000 vehicles could have crossed the bridge daily. It could hold heavy armored vehicles, such as tanks, infantry fighting vehicles or mobile rocket launchers.

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