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Russian Defense Ministry regrets сoalition picks wrong targets in Syria

October 19, 2016, 18:23 UTC+3

A Russian defense official says it is essential to avoid ‘collateral damage’ and rule out any doubts the picked target belongs to the Islamic State

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© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, October 19. /TASS/. Combat aircraft of the international coalition, to which Belgium is affiliated, systematically pick wrong targets for attack, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told reporters on Wednesday.

He was speaking in response to a statement by his Belgian counterpart Steven Vandeput, who claimed that no Belgian planes were in the area of the village of Hassadjek near Aleppo, where an air raid left six people dead.

"It is hard to disagree with Mr. Vandeput in that it is essential to avoid ‘collateral damage’ and rule out any doubts the picked target belongs to the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia - TASS). However, we would like to recall that for the countries of the international coalition, to which Belgium is affiliated, such target setting mistakes are not something impossible and regrettably happen with regularity," Konashenkov said.

"That’s why weddings, funerals, hospitals, police stations, humanitarian convoys and even Syrian troops fighting against Islamic State terrorists near Deir ez-Zor are hit by the aircraft of the coalition member-countries. Moreover, none of the coalition’s member-countries has ever been made liable for that," he added.

Konashenkov recalled that Russia has effective air defense facilities, which make it possible "to monitor the situation in the sky over almost the entire territory of Syria and beyond around the clock."

The Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties reported on October 18 that the village of Hassadjek had been targeted by an airstrike. The Russian military said there were no Russian or Syrian aircraft in the area, but Belgian Air Force fighter jets had been registered there. Six Belgian F-16 fighters are involved in the actions of the international coalition fighting against the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia).

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