US coalition strikes two Syrian army positions: Hezbollah media

#SyriaWar

US military official denies claims, saying there's 'no information to substantiate those reports'

Syrian army tank (Reuters/file photo)
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Thursday 24 May 2018 4:37 UTC
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Warplanes from the US-led coalition targeted two Syrian army positions in the eastern Syrian desert, a military media unit run by Lebanon's Hezbollah group said early on Thursday.

The unit, a Damascus ally, said the strikes took place near T2, an energy installation located near the border with Iraq and about 100km (60 miles) west of the Euphrates River where the coalition is backing ground forces against the Islamic State (IS) group.

A US military official denied any knowledge of the strikes.

"We have no operational reporting of a US-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 held mostly by IS 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 back most of its land.

Communication between Russia and the United States averted most clashes between them. Still, the coalition has on occasion 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.

Hezbollah activity

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on Hezbollah not to engage in military activity inside Lebanon and elsewhere in the region, in a report seen by AFP on Wednesday.

"The maintenance by Hezbollah of sizeable and sophisticated military capabilities outside the control of the government of Lebanon remains a matter of grave concern," Guterres said in a report sent to the Security Council on Friday.

The UN chief called on the group "not to engage in any military activity inside or outside Lebanon" in line with a 2004 UN resolution.

The Lebanese government must prevent Hezbollah from "building paramilitary capacity outside the authority of the state," he said.