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Airstrikes kill 5 pro-Iran fighters near Syria border

By AFP

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Armoured vehicles of the Iraqi army patrol Iraq's border with Syria in al-Qaim opposite Albu Kamal in Syria's Deir Ezzor region on November 12th, 2018. [Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP] 

Airstrikes by unidentified warplanes have killed five pro-Iran fighters in Syria's eastern province of Deir Ezzor near the Iraqi border, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sunday (December 8th).

The strikes late Saturday targeted "positions of Iranian forces and allied militias" on the edge of the town of Albu Kamal, the Observatory said.

"Five non-Syrian fighters were killed," Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP, without being able to provide their nationalities.

Regime troops, Iranian forces and allied Iran-backed fighters, including from Iraq, are present on the western banks of the Euphrates River, he said.

The international coalition has been backing Kurdish-led forces fighting the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) on the eastern shores of the river.

The coalition has in the past admitted to carrying out airstrikes against pro-regime fighters, but it denied any involvement in Saturday's air raids.

In a Sunday statement the coalition said it "did not conduct any strikes in Syria on December 7th, 2019".

Saturday's raids were the latest in a string of similar bombardments.

Ten Iraqi fighters were killed in September in airstrikes of unknown origin in the same area, according to the Observatory.

At the start of that month, air raids killed 18 pro-Iran fighters, it reported.

In June 2018, strikes near the Iraqi border killed 55 pro-regime forces, mostly Syrians and Iraqis, the Observatory said.

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