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The US-led coalition has admitted its airstrikes in eastern Syria killed at least 62 Syrian troops fighting ISIS.

Russia and Syria said the strikes prove the United States and its allies are sympathetic to ISIS.

According to the Russian military, 62 Syrian soldiers were killed near Deir Ezzor Airport. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at 83 and said at least 120 soldiers were wounded.

The strike occurred September 17 in an eastern part of Syria that is not a part of a delicate and nearly week-old ceasefire. The US military said it was targeting ISIS militants and if it hit Syrian troops, it was an accident.

Hours after US-led coalition airstrikes, the US and Russian ambassadors to the United Nations chastised each other outside an emergency Security Council meeting.

The US said its planes had halted the attack in Deir al-Zour when informed of the Syrian presence.

Bashar al-Assad has raised the possibility of Germany acting as a mediator to try to end Syria's 30-month-long civil war

A spokesman for the US administration expressed “regret” for the “unintentional loss of life”.

The attack caused a bitter row between the US and Russia at the United Nations Security Council.

US envoy Samantha Power accused Russia of “pulling a stunt” by calling an emergency meeting of the council.

Samantha Power’s opposite number, Vitaliy Churkin, said he had never seen “such an extraordinary display of American heavy-handedness” as shown by Power.

The Russians earlier said the current ceasefire in Syria was in danger of collapse and the US would be to blame.

The cessation of hostilities does not include attacks by the US on ISIS or other jihadist groups.

The US Central Command statement said the coalition believed it was attacking positions of so-called Islamic State and the raids were “halted immediately when coalition officials were informed by Russian officials that it was possible the personnel and vehicles targeted were part of the Syrian military”.

It said the “Combined Air Operations Center had earlier informed Russian counterparts of the upcoming strike”.

It added: “Syria is a complex situation with various military forces and militias in close proximity, but coalition forces would not intentionally strike a known Syrian military unit. The coalition will review this strike and the circumstances surrounding it to see if any lessons can be learned.”

Russia’s defense ministry earlier said that if the US air strikes did turn out to be an error, it would be because of Washington’s refusal to co-ordinate military action with Moscow.

Only if the current ceasefire – which began on September 12 – holds for seven days, will the US and Russia begin co-ordinated action against the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham group, which was previously known as the al-Nusra Front, and ISIS.

The Russian defense ministry quoted a statement by Syrian army general command as saying that the four coalition air strikes on Syrian troops had allowed ISIS to advance.

The Russian foreign ministry said the attack had jeopardized the US-Russia agreement on Syria.

The Syrian statement said that the air strikes were “conclusive evidence” that the US and its allies supported the jihadist group.

There have been no confirmed cases of US air strikes targeting Syrian troops.

According to US officials, an American airstrike has destroyed more than 238 fuel trucks controlled by ISIS militants in north-east Syria.

It is thought the pilots found the trucks parked up together, waiting to be loaded at an oil production point near al-Hasakah and Dayr Az Zawr.

Warning shots were reportedly fired to scare away the civilian drivers, before the destruction of the trucks began.

Islamic State makes large amounts of money from oil it produces from seized facilities.

The US Department of Defense says it will release video of the air raid, which took place over the weekend.ISIS oil trucks in Syria

Last week another 116 tankers were destroyed in a previous airstrike.

Pentagon spokesman, Capt. Jeff Davis, said on November 23: “This was conducted in many ways identical to our last,”

“It was proceeded with a leaflet drop to warn drivers out of their trucks as well as a show of force.”

Jeff Davis said there were no reports of civilian casualties.

The oil truck strikes are part of Operation Tidal Wave II, a change in tactics on the part of the coalition. Previously, petrol supplies were largely avoided because of the impact on civilian populations.

A US-led coalition began a campaign of air strikes in Syria and Iraq in 2014, after ISIS took large parts of both countries.


The US has launched a “full investigation” into airstrikes that killed 19 people at a Medecins Sans Frontieres-run Afghan hospital on October 3, President Barack Obama.

According to the US military, a strike targeting Taliban in the northern city of Kunduz may have caused “collateral damage”.

Offering his “deepest condolences”, President Barack Obama said he expected a “full accounting of the facts” and would then make a definitive judgement.

At least 12 MSF staff members and seven patients were killed in the incident.

The UN called the strikes “inexcusable and possibly even criminal”, with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calling for a thorough and impartial investigation.

“International and Afghan military planners have an obligation to respect and protect civilians at all times, and medical facilities and personnel are the object of a special protection,” said UN High Commissioner Ra’ad Al Hussein Zeid.

The hospital, run by the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), was severely damaged by a series of strikes lasting more than an hour from 02:00 local time on October 3. Dozens were also injured in the attack.

Photo AP

Photo AP

MSF president Meinie Nicolai described the incident as “abhorrent and a grave violation of international humanitarian law”.

“All indications currently point to the bombing being carried out by international Coalition forces,” MSF said.

A spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan, Col. Brian Tribus, said on October 3 that US forces had conducted an air strike in Kunduz “against individuals threatening the force” at the same time.

He added: “The strike may have resulted in collateral damage to a nearby medical facility.”

President Barack Obama expressed his “deepest condolences” for the deaths in a White House statement.

He added: “The Department of Defense has launched a full investigation, and we will await the results of that inquiry before making a definitive judgment as to the circumstances of this tragedy.”

MSF nurse Lajos Zoltan Jecs was sleeping at the facility when it was hit.

“It was absolutely terrifying,” he said.

He saw a fellow nurse “covered in blood, with wounds all over his body”, a statement issued by MSF said.

Lajos Zoltan Jecs and other staff went outside when the bombing stopped.

“What we saw was the hospital destroyed. We tried to take a look into one of the burning buildings. There are no words for how terrible it was. In the intensive care unit six patients were burning in their beds.”

The Afghan interior ministry said a group of 10 to 15 militants had been hiding in the hospital.

The Taliban denied that any of its fighters were there.

A Taliban statement described the air strikes which hit the hospital as “deliberate”, and carried out by “the barbaric American forces”.

There has been intense fighting in Kunduz since Taliban fighters swept into the northern city on September 28.

The US and Arab allies’ airstrikes have hit four makeshift oil refineries under Islamic State (ISIS) control in Syria, as well as a command centre.

Early indications were that the attacks by US, Saudi and UAE planes were successful, US Central Command said.

Explosions at a refinery at Tel Abyad, near the Turkish border, lit up the night sky, an eyewitness watching from across the frontier said.

Meanwhile further fighting was reported in the besieged border town of Kobane.

There was no repetition on Sunday of coalition airstrikes on ISIS positions in the area, where Syrian Kurd fighters have been holding out against the militants.

The ISIS advance in the area sent about 140,000 civilians fleeing towards Turkey.

US-led coalition aircraft have targeted four makeshift oil refineries under ISIS control in Syria

US-led coalition aircraft have targeted four makeshift oil refineries under ISIS control in Syria

An initial wave of coalition air attacks on Thursday, the third day of the air campaign against ISIS in Syria, targeted 12 refineries.

According to the Pentagon, small-scale mobile refineries used by IS in Syria generate up to $2 million per day in revenue for the militants.

The US-led coalition of about 40 countries, including Arab states, has vowed to destroy IS, which controls large parts of north-eastern Syria and northern Iraq.

The group’s brutal tactics, including mass killings, beheadings and abductions of members of religious and ethnic minorities, triggered the international intervention.

Al-Nusra Front, a fellow Islamist militant group in Syria, has denounced the air strikes as “a war against Islam” and called on jihadists around the world to target Western and Arab countries involved.

“Although we continue to assess the outcome of these attacks, initial indications are that they were successful,” US Central Command said after Sunday’s strikes.

Blasts at the Tel Abyad refinery around 02:30 local time sent flames soaring 200ft into the sky, Turkish businessman Mehmet Ozer, who lives in the nearby Turkish town of Akcakale, told AP news agency.

They continued for two hours, rocking the building from which he was watching, Mehmet Ozer said.

Both the refinery and the local ISIS headquarters were bombed, Turkey’s Dogan news agency said.

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Ahmed Abdi Godane, the leader of the Somali Islamist group al-Shabab, was killed following a US attack earlier this week, the Pentagon has confirmed.

The US carried out air strikes on Monday night targeting a convoy in which he was travelling.

“Removing Godane from the battlefield is a major symbolic and operational loss to al-Shabab,” the Pentagon press secretary said in a statement.

Ahmed Abdi Godane was one of the US state department’s most wanted men.

Leader of the Somali Islamist group al-Shabab Ahmed Abdi Godane was killed following a US attack earlier this week

Leader of the Somali Islamist group al-Shabab Ahmed Abdi Godane was killed following a US attack earlier this week

It had placed a bounty of $7 million on his head.

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby said the military action on September 1 had “led to his death”.

The US has supported the African Union (AU) force that has driven al-Shabab out of the capital, Mogadishu, and other towns since 2011.

The al-Qaeda-linked fighters want to overthrow the UN-backed Somali government and frequently attack government targets as well as neighboring countries that provide troops to the AU force.

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Humanitarian aid drops have been made by the US planes to the besieged Iraqi town of Amirli, the Pentagon has said.

Some 15,000 minority Shia Turkmen in Amerli have been surrounded by Islamic State (ISIS) militants for two months.

The US also carried out air strikes on ISIS positions. The Iraqi army, Shia militias and Kurdish fighters have been struggling to break the siege.

Aircraft from the UK, Australia, France joined the US in the humanitarian aid drops, said Rear Admiral John Kirby.

Food, water, and medical supplies were delivered.

Rear Adm Kirby said operations would limited in scope and duration, as required to protect civilians trapped in Amirli.

The UN has expressed fears there could be a massacre if IS breaks through defenses in the town, which lies in Kurdish-controlled Iraq.

Humanitarian aid drops have been made by the US planes to the besieged Iraqi town of Amirli

Humanitarian aid drops have been made by the US planes to the besieged Iraqi town of Amirli (photo AP)

Earlier, the US launched new air strikes on IS near the key Mosul Dam.

In a statement, the US military said an armed vehicle, a fighting position and weapons were destroyed in the raid.

It said the strikes were in support of operations conducted by the Iraqi security forces near the strategic dam in the north of the country.

ISIS has been accused of atrocities in areas of Iraq and Syria under its control.

The Shia Turkmen are seen as apostates by the ISIS militants.

From the south, Iraqi government troops and allied Shia militias are trying to push into the Marin hill, which overlook the plain on which Amirli lies.

With the help of air strikes by the Iraqi air force, they are reported to be making slow progress, with roads in the area heavily mined and booby-trapped by the Islamist militants.

From further north, a combination of army forces, Shia militia and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters is reported to be trying to push down towards Amerli through a string of villages held by ISIS.

In one village, Salam, local sources said Shia militias had taken control of half of the settlement – but the ISIS militants fought back and drove them out.

The impression at this stage is that rapid movement to break the siege is unlikely and that it may be a protracted affair.

The operation is reported to have two objectives: to break the siege of Amirli and to reopen the main highway leading north from Baghdad.

The road is currently blocked by ISIS.

Meanwhile, reports from Syria say that hundreds of Yazidi women, another Iraqi minority, have been sold and distributed as wives among militant fighters in Syria.

The women who were abducted during recent attacks by IS in Iraq are said to have been transported to Syria after being forced to convert to Islam.

At least 27 of them were sold to ISIS members for marriage, according to the UK-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Right.

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The US military has carried out a third round of airstrikes on Sunni Muslim militants to defend civilians in northern Iraq.

US jet fighters and drones destroyed armored carriers and a truck that were firing on members of the Yazidi sect, officials said.

Thousands of civilians fled into the mountains after the Islamic State (IS) overran the town of Sinjar a week ago.

IS has taken control of swathes of Iraq and Syria in the past few months.

IS (formerly known as ISIS) has declared a “caliphate”, or Islamic state, in the region, prompting thousands of religious minorities to flee their homes in northern Iraq.

President Barack Obama authorized the military offensive last week to halt the advance of IS forces threatening the Kurdish city of Irbil.

The series of strikes is the first time US forces have been directly involved in a military operation in Iraq since they withdrew from the country in late 2011.

The US military has carried out a third round of airstrikes on Sunni Muslim militants to defend civilians in northern Iraq

The US military has carried out a third round of airstrikes on Sunni Muslim militants to defend civilians in northern Iraq (photo AP)

A US military statement said the latest four strikes had been aimed at defending members of the Yazidi religious group who were being “indiscriminately attacked” near Sinjar.

IS has been widely accused of targeting and killing members of other faiths.

The US said a mix of fighter jets and drones destroyed an IS armored personnel carrier (APC) that was firing on civilians.

The statement said US aircraft also attacked other APCs and an armed truck.

The Pentagon also said a third US air-drop of food and water had been made on Saturday night to refugees on Mount Sinjar.

One C-17 and two C-130 cargo aircraft dropped a total of 72 bundles of supplies.

France and Britain have also announced that they will deliver aid consignments.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius is travelling to Baghdad and Irbil for talks on Sunday.

The UN children’s agency, UNICEF, says at least 56 Yazidi children have died of dehydration in the mountains around Sinjar.

Juan Mohammed, a local government spokesman in the Syrian city of Qamishli, told AP news agency that more than 20,000 starving Yazidis had fled across the border.

He said columns of refugees were running a gauntlet of gunfire through a tenuous “safe passage” being defended by forces of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Region.

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The US army has conducted its second air-drop of food and water to Iraqi people hiding in mountains from jihadist fighters, the Pentagon says.

The humanitarian aid came hours after the US launched fresh air strikes against militants from the Islamic State (IS).

The IS had recently made fresh gains in northern Iraq and is threatening the Kurdish city of Irbil.

The US is also piling pressure on Iraqi leaders to form a unity government capable of dealing with the jihadists.

The US army has conducted its second air-drop of food and water to Iraqi people hiding in mountains from jihadist fighters

The US army has conducted its second air-drop of food and water to Iraqi people hiding in mountains from jihadist fighters

President Barack Obama said on Friday that Iraq’s Shia Arab majority had “squandered an opportunity” to share power with the Sunni Arabs and Kurds.

IS, a jihadist group formerly known as Isis, has taken control of swathes of Iraq and Syria and has also seized Iraq’s largest dam.

In a statement, the Pentagon said the latest air-drop dispersed 72 bundles of supplies.

The aid was dropped into the mountains around the town of Sinjar, where up to 50,000 members of the Yazidi religious sect fled an IS advance a week ago.

Iraq’s human rights ministry believes the militants have seized hundreds of Yazidi women. Ministry spokesman Kamil Amin said some were being held in schools in Iraq’s second largest city Mosul.

The first US air strike on Friday saw two 500lb bombs dropped on IS artillery being used against forces defending Irbil.

Late on Friday, the Pentagon confirmed a second wave of attacks. It said drones and fighter jets attacked a mortar position and a seven-vehicle convoy carrying fighters also threatening Irbil.

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