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Iraqi force says USA strike killed fighters in east Syria

19 June 2018

"Aircraft of the American coalition bombarded one of our military positions in the area of al-Hari southeast of Albu Kamal" town in Deir Ezzor, state news agency SANA reported a military source as saying, adding a number of people had been killed.

Iraq's Popular Mobilisation Forces, a grouping of mostly Iran-backed Shi'ite paramilitaries, said a USA air strike on the Iraqi border with Syria killed 22 of its members and wounded 12 others.

The U.S.is denying reports the country is responsible for airstrikes in Syria allegedly resulting in multiple fatalities.

Syrian state media said on Monday that USA -led coalition aircraft had bombed "one of our military positions" in eastern Syria, leading to deaths and injuries, but the US military denied carrying out strikes in the area.

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The U.S.is leading a coalition backing Syrian Arab and Kurdish militias fighting against the Islamic State northeast of Albu Kamal.

A spokesman for the US-led coalition said it was looking into the reports, but insisted that there had been no strikes by its forces in the Albu Kamal area.

"There have been no strikes by United States or Coalition forces in that area", the coalition's press office said.

Shi'ite forces loyal to Assad were killed in an airstrike along the Syria-Iraq border as ISIS and Iran battle for control of the Tehran-Damascus road.

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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, said it had documented the deaths of 38 non-Syrian militia fighters, but that it did not know whether they were Iraqi or Lebanese nationals.

"We will take action - and are already taking action - against efforts to establish a militarily presence by Iran and its proxies in Syria both close to the border and deep inside Syria".

"I'm sure you are familiar with the Israeli policy of not commenting on foreign reports, so I will stick to that policy and I can not comment on any reports in foreign media", said Israeli Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus. "We're looking into who that could possibly be, but it wasn't the United States or the coalition".

Throughout Syria's seven-year war, Israel has carried out scores of strikes within the neighboring country against what it describes as Hezbollah or Iranian targets.

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Israel, alarmed about the clout of arch enemies Iran and Hezbollah, has been pressing Russia, Assad's other key ally, to make sure they do not entrench their military sway in Syria. "We will act against these efforts anywhere in Syria", Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday at a cabinet meeting.