DAMASCUS (Dispatches) – Russia and Syria have condemned U.S. airstrikes targeting anti-Daesh forces, saying the "brazen" attacks violate the Arab country's sovereignty and show Washington's claims of fighting terrorism are false.
The U.S. military launched the attack against a convoy of the Syrian military heading towards the border near Jordan where Daesh terrorists are based.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov on Friday described the attacks as "unacceptable,” which also claimed the lives of civilians.
Speaking in Geneva, Gatilov said the strikes violated Syria’s sovereignty and would not help efforts to achieve a political solution to the ongoing crisis in the country.
A Syrian government’s military source said the U.S. strike hit "one of our military points" late Thursday, killing several people and causing material damage.
The source said the attack hampered efforts by the Syrian army and its allies to fight Daesh terrorists who have been wreaking havoc in Iraq and Syria for years.
"This brazen attack by the so-called international coalition exposes the falseness of its claims about fighting terrorism,” the source said.
"The Syrian Arab Army is fighting terrorism on its territory, and no party has the right to determine the course of its operations,” the Syrian military source added.
Syrian state media provided no precise figures about the number of casualties, but the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said eight people were killed in the attack.
This is while, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has claimed the United States is not deepening its role in war in Syria, where government forces have been battling foreign-sponsored terrorists for more than six years.
"We are not increasing our role in the Syrian civil war, but we will defend our troops," Mattis said on Thursday, shortly after the attack.
"We will defend ourselves (if) people take aggressive steps against us. And that's been a going-in policy of ours for a long time,” he stated.
The attack came after Syria’s warring parties agreed to set up expert committees to discuss "constitutional issues” as part of efforts to facilitate a political resolution of the deadly conflict in the Arab country.
UN mediator Staffan de Mistura's office made the announcement on Thursday.
De Mistura held a series of separate meetings with representatives from the Damascus government and opposition groups to discuss "legal and constitutional issues of relevance to the intra-Syrian talks".
The sixth round of Syrian talks began under the auspices of the United Nations in the Swiss city of Geneva on Tuesday.
De Mistura has presented Syria’s main opposition bloc, the Syrian High Negotiations Committee (HNC), with a document proposing a team of civil society activists and technocrats tasked with mapping a way forward to a draft law.
A new constitution for Syria is one of the four separate topics or "baskets" on the agenda at the ongoing talks, alongside governance, elections and combating "terrorism".
Speaking to journalists shortly after the UN's announcement, government delegation head Bashar al-Jaafari however said his team had "not discussed any baskets yet".
The Syrian diplomat described the UN's earlier plan as "too ambitious". Jaafari also played down that the expert meetings would push the constitutional process forward.
"The work of these experts will have nothing to do with the constitution... They will not take decisions."