US-led strike hits regime positions in east Syria: State media

File photo showing a member of the Syrian pro-government forces raising the national flag atop a damaged building on the southern outskirts of Damascus on May 22, 2018.
File photo showing a member of the Syrian pro-government forces raising the national flag atop a damaged building on the southern outskirts of Damascus on May 22, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

DAMASCUS (AFP, REUTERS) - Syrian state media reported early Thursday (May 22) that an aerial attack by the US-led coalition had hit several military positions in the country's east, but said there was only material damage.

"Some of our military positions between Albu Kamal and Hmeimeh were hit this morning in an aggression by American coalition warplanes," said a military source quoted on state news agency SANA.

The military source told SANA the attack only caused "material damage." Albu Kamal and Hmeimeh lie in Syria's eastern Deir Ezzor province, where Russian-backed Syrian troops and the US-led coalition have been waging separate offensives against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group.

US military officials denied any knowledge of the strikes.

"We have no operational reporting of a U.S.-led coalition strike against pro-Syrian regime targets or forces," Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman for US Central Command, told Reuters.

Another Pentagon spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: "We have no information to substantiate those reports."

Eastern Syria was mostly held by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) until last year, when two rival campaigns, one by the Syrian army backed by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, the other by Kurdish and Arab militias backed by the US coalition, took most of its land.

Communication between Russia and the United States averted most clashes between them. However, the coalition has struck Syrian pro-government forces that it said were attempting to attack coalition positions.

The US military operating outside the coalition also maintains a base at Tanf in the eastern Syrian desert near the borders with Iraq and Jordan and last year struck pro-government forces moving along a road towards it. (