Syria roadside bomb kills one near coalition base: monitor

Syria roadside bomb kills one near coalition base: monitor
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A picture taken from a government-controlled area on the outskirts of Harasta on the northeastern suburbs of Damascus on February 28, 2018. AFP

Beirut: A roadside bomb killed an unidentified fighter Monday near a base in northern Syria used by the US-led coalition battling the Islamic State group, a monitor said.

But the coalition, which has both French and American soldiers stationed at the base, and the Kurdish-Arab alliance it supports said they had no record of such a blast.

“A bomb by the side of the road exploded as a military vehicle drove by on the road from Ain Issa to the Brigade 93 base” in the northern province of Raqa, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Britain-based monitor said one combatant had been killed but could not immediately confirm the victim’s nationality.

Both the US-led coalition bombing IS and fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces are located at the base north of Raqa city.

In a statement to AFP, the coalition said it was monitoring the situation closely.

“We are aware of open source reports of an explosion near Raqa, but do not have any reports from our troops on the ground,” it said.

An SDF spokesman denied an explosion had taken place.

“There was no explosion near the American base in Ain Issa and we, the Syrian Democratic Forces, deny that our forces or positions were exposed to any attack with explosives,” SDF spokesman Mustefa Bali said.

Backed by US-led air strikes, the SDF have expelled IS jihadists from much of the Syrian territory they overran in 2014.

IS has also faced a second offensive from Russia-backed regime troops, but still hold tiny pockets in eastern Syria.

Turkish forces and their Syrian proxies are also active in northern Syria, as well as jihadists from a former Al-Qaeda affiliate and a myriad other rebel outfits.

More than 350,000 people have been killed in Syria’s war since it started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

Agence France-Presse