US "regrets" killing 62 Syrian troops, thought they were IS
The Obama administration expressed its "regret" on Saturday for an airstrike that mistakenly killed Syrian forces, a senior administration official told Fox News, as the US awaited a response from the Assad regime.
The US military halted its air raid against the so-called Islamic State terror group in eastern Syria after learning it struck the Syrian military, a US Central Command official confirmed.
The CENTCOM official said the US military was "certain" about the outcome of the strike. Officials had been watching these forces "for a few days" thinking they were IS.
"The US has relayed our regret through the Russian Federation for the unintentional loss of life of Syrian forces," stated the administration official. It marked the first known direct US strike on President Bashar al-Assad's forces.
RUSSIA ACT A “STUNT”
Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the UN, lashed out at Russia for requesting an emergency UN Security Council meeting Saturday night, calling the request a "stunt."
She said the Russians had blood on their hands after their own attacks in Syria, adding, "They're calling this emergency meeting? Really?"
The UN Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting for Saturday night at Russia's request to discuss the strike.
Syria and Russia said the US-led coalition had struck a Syrian military base in Deir el-Zour that was surrounded by IS fighters, enabling them to advance. There were "no objections" from the Russians ahead of the airstrike, according to a senior defence official.
US INFORMED RUSSIA
The CENTCOM official described the target as "irregular forces," adding that multiple US aircraft struck six military troop carrier vehicles and one tank which were "out in the open”.
The US military informed Russian counterparts before the strike but "did not share specifics" of the target, just the airspace and general area, reported Fox News.
A Russian Defence Ministry official stated that Syria informed them that 62 of its soldiers were killed in the airstrike.
Russia has been waging a year-old air campaign on behalf of Assad's forces and closely coordinates with them.