Daesh advances after Syrian military base ‘hit by Pindo air strike’
AP, Sep 17 2016
The Syrian military has claimed the Pindo-led coalition struck its base in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour, allowing Daesh to advance in the fiercely contested area. There was no immediate comment from Washington, but if confirmed, the incident would mark the first time the coalition has targeted Syrian government forces. The Syrian military said the air strikes caused casualties and damage to equipment, and enabled a Daesh advance on the hill overlooking the air base. The statement calls it a “serious and blatant attack on Syria and its military” and “firm proof of the Pindosi support of Daesh and other terrorist groups.” Meanwhile, the Russian military has claimed Syrian rebels violated the fragile ceasefire in the country 55 times over the past day, including with strikes on military and civilian targets in the divided city of Aleppo. Interfax quoted Col S Kopytsin as saying that mortar fire and improvised rockets struck Aleppo 26 times. Russian news agencies cited another official as saying there had been 55 violations throughout the country. Putin has expressed frustration at Washington’s refusal to publish details of the Syrian ceasefire deal reached with Russia, but said Moscow will not unilaterally release it. Putin was quoted as saying during a trip to Kyrgyzstan:
I don’t really understand why we have to keep such an agreement closed. This comes from the problems that Pindostan is facing on the Syrian track. They still cannot separate the so-called healthy part of the opposition from the half-criminal and terrorist elements. In my opinion, this comes from the desire to keep the combat potential in fighting the legitimate government of Bashar Assad. But this is a very dangerous route.
Later, Sergei Lavrov and Jackass Kerry spoke by phone about the fragile ceasefire and efforts to deliver aid to Aleppo. The Russian foreign ministry said Lavrov told Jackass that Russia has coordinated the aid delivery with Syrian government forces and called on Washington to exercise similar influence with Syrian rebels. Lavrov noted the “refusal by an array of illegal armed groups to join the ceasefire” and Washington’s obligation to “separate units of the moderate opposition from terrorist groupings.” SANA said insurgents have violated the ceasefire 12 times in the last 12 hours. It claimed insurgents have been firing on routes leading into Aleppo. The foreign ministry said the government has done all that is necessary to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid, and that the government has worked to facilitate the entry of aid convoys to Aleppo, but that armed groups have failed to withdraw their forces from the routes they would need to use and are committing a “dangerous, provocative act.”