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Syrian state media says US-led strikes injured government troops

US-led coalition tells Middle East Eye it is investigating the incident in the southeastern countryside of Deir Ezzor
State media, citing a military source, said the US attack injured two soldiers and destroyed an artillery piece (AFP)

Syrian state media claimed on Sunday that the US-led coalition fighting against Islamic State (IS) targeted Syrian army troops operating against IS fighters on Saturday. 

The pro-government SANA news agency, citing a senior military source, said that the US attack east of the Euphrates caused damage and injuries to Syrian army troops. 

The US-led coalition told Middle East Eye it was investigating the incident but confirmed that Syrian government troops had attacked US-backed Syrian Defence Forces, who are also fighting IS. 

SANA said the US attack injured two soldiers and destroyed an artillery piece. 

"US coalition aircraft launched an aggression this evening against one of the Syrian Arab army formations operating in the Albukamal area in the southeastern countryside of Deir Ezzor," state news agency SANA cited the military source as saying early on Sunday.

Colonel Sean Ryan, the spokesperson for the US-led coalition, said it was investigating the incident. 

"Our partner forces were fired upon and exercised their inherent right to self-defence. It is under investigation so I cannot comment further at this time," Ryan told MEE. 

The coalition has previously denied striking Syrian military targets in that area.

Military communications

IS now holds only a couple of villages in Syria, according to the US-led coalition, having lost almost all its territory in 2017 to two rival offensives, one by the coalition with local fighters, and one by the Syrian army and allied militia backed by Russia.

The group also holds an enclave of desert surrounded by the Syrian army in the centre of the country.

Russia and the US continue to maintain military communications to prevent conflict between the two forces fighting IS.

Some clashes, however, have occurred between the two warring parties and proxies. 

Turkish authorities said on Saturday that it had captured four suspected IS members on the Syrian border as they attempted to cross into the country illegally.

Border units arrested the suspects on Friday in the Akcakale district of Sanliurfa in southeast Turkey.

Among the suspects caught were Feride Samur, who has a red notice arrest warrant against his name, the AFP news agency reported.