21:34 GMT03 August 2020
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    The US-led coalition’s strikes against the positions of the Syrian government are an attempt to prevent Damascus from taking control over the country’s border with Iraq, member of the Hmeimim group of internal Syrian opposition Tarek Ahmad told Sputnik.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The attacks by the coalition planes near the Deir ez-Zor airport were first reported by the Syrian army earlier on Saturday. The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the attacks saying they killed 62 servicemen and injured 100 more. The attack was later confirmed by the US Central Command, which said that Syrian troops were mistaken for the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.

    "Coalition strike on the governmental Syrian forces is an attempt to prevent the Syrian Army from advancing and taking control over Iraqi-Syrian border," Ahmad said.

    According to the official, the coalition first aimed to "help Daesh [IS] to acquire control over cities on the border and Deir ez-Zor is a capital of this province."

    "Later, they would replace Daesh fighters with rebels under their control or troops that belong to the states within the US-led coalition such as Turkey or Jordan. The idea is to cut off Syria from Iraq and to create a buffer zone," Ahmad said.

    Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with government forces fighting numerous opposition factions and extremist groups, including the Islamic State (IS), which is outlawed in many countries, including Russia. The government-held city of Deir Ez-Zor has been under siege from IS since July 2014.

    The US-led coalition has been carrying out anti-IS strikes since September 2014 without Syrian government consent.


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