Though the US hasn’t explicitly ruled out attacking Syrian military targets in their assorted airstrikes in the country, they hadn’t done so until Sunday evening, when the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported an apparent US airstrike against a Syrian military camp in Deir Ezzor Province, killing three and wounding 13.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry condemned the attack as an “act of aggression” and has sent letters to the UN Security Council protesting the US attack. The US, however, is denying that they were responsible for the attack.
US officials confirmed airstrikes in Deir Ezzor, but insisted that none hit military targets, and said they believed Russia had actually attacked the Syrian base, even though unlike the US, Russia is actually an ally of Syria and coordinating operations with them.
Officials claimed to have radar evidence that Russia was responsible for the “screw up,” though they did not offer this evidence to anyone to inspect. Russia, for its part, said the incident underscored the need to increase military coordination in the battle against ISIS.
Deir Ezzor, in the far east of Syria, is almost entirely ISIS-held, and the US launches the overwhelming majority of airstrikes there. Indeed, US officials have harshly criticized Russia for not launching more airstrikes in the east, instead focusing on al-Qaeda-held territory in the northwest Idlib Province.