Syrian state media said on Monday that an airstrike that targeted Syrian army positions along the Iraqi border was carried out by U.S.-led coalition aircraft causing deaths and injuries, but the U.S. military denied responsibility.
The attack took place in al-Harra, southeast of the town of Albu Kamal, state news agency SANA said, citing a military source. SANA said the attack caused an unspecified number of deaths and injuries.
A commander in the alliance fighting alongside Damascus told Reuters that drones that were “probably American” had bombed the positions of Iraqi factions between Albu Kamal and Tanf, as well as Syrian military positions.
The commander, who is not Syrian and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the strike had killed and injured some Iraqi fighters but he did not give any numbers.
Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces, a grouping of mostly Iran-backed Shi’ite paramilitaries, said a U.S. air strike on the Iraqi border with Syria killed 22 of its members and wounded 12 others.
“At 22:00 last night a U.S. plane hit a fixed headquarters of the Popular Mobilization Forces’ 45th and 46th brigades defending the border strip with Syria, using two guided missiles which led to the martyrdom of 22 fighters,” it said in a statement.
It demanded an explanation from the United States.
An Iraqi military statement later said no Popular Mobilization Forces or other Iraqi troops tasked with securing the Iraqi-Syrian border had been hit by the air strike, and it had taken place inside Syria.
The United States has about 5200 troops in Iraq including Special Operations troops and air assets that are battling Islamic State (ISIS) militants and have Special Operations troops in Syria supporting Syrian Arab and Kurdish militia fighting Islamic State militants there as well.
“No member of the U.S.-led coalition carried out strikes near Albu Kamal,” Major Josh Jacques, spokesman for the U.S. Central Command said.
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