Russian warplanes reportedly bomb Kurdish forces in Deir ez-Zor

Russian military helicopter flies over a desert in Deir es Zor province Syria

A Russian general was killed while battling Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants near the eastern Syrian city of Deir Ezzor, Moscow's defense ministry has said.

Meanwhile, Syrian Army forces supported by Russian air power and Iran-backed militias are closing in on the same positions, seeking to capture gas and oil fields before the Kurdish alliance can occupy them.

In its statement, the ministry said that Asapov was at a command outpost manned by Syrian troops, assisting commanders in the liberation of the city of Deir ez-Zor.

Elsewhere in Syria, an activist monitoring group said that Russian air strikes had killed 36 civilians in the northwestern province of Idlib.

It says the attack occurred on the Conoco gas field, which the SDF captured from IS on Saturday.




Russia warned the United States on Thursday it would target US -backed militias in Syria if Russian troops again came under fire, as the United States disclosed an unusual face-to-face meeting between USA and Russian generals meant to avoid such clashes. "For operational security, we do not comment on ongoing operations or the current positions of Coalition personnel and our partner forces", the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve said. The United States has made similar accusations against Moscow, asserting that Russian forces say they are targeting IS fighters, but are in fact targeting USA -backed forces.

"According to our information, USA intelligence services initiated the offensive to halt the successful advance of government troops to the east of Deir al-Zor", said Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoi.

Konashenkov said Syrian regime forces have continued the offensive on the eastern side of the Euphrates over the past day, "freeing 16 square kilometres and two villages from terrorists". Though there is no evidence of assault, struggle or any US -led coalition airstrikes to drive out the militants.

A Kurdish commander of the SDF, which has approached along the east bank with USA jets and special forces, told Reuters on Monday the alliance expected to completely push Islamic State out of its former Syrian headquarters of Raqqa within a month. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov angrily blamed the United States for Asapov's death.

The Observatory also reported the shelling, saying two civilians were killed.

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