Published: Tue, February 20, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Lavrov warns United States against 'playing with fire' in Syria

Lavrov warns United States against 'playing with fire' in Syria

"I understand that the Russian government now is saying that some of their not-military forces, contractors, were involved in that still unexplained attack", Mattis said while flying back to Washington after a weeklong tour of Europe, adding that Russian officers the United States coordinated with were "apparently" unaware.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov issued a warning to Washington on Monday morning in light of an armed clash between Russian mercenaries and rebels, which received air support from the United States, earlier this month near Deir ez-Zor.

On February 8, US Central Command announced that the coalition conducted what it described as "defensive airstrikes" against pro-government forces near the Euphrates River as a response to an alleged attack against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) headquarters. "But they took direction from someone".

According to the Russian foreign minister, reports claiming that hundreds of Russian "mercenaries" had been killed in a US-led coalition's airstrike targeting pro-Damascus militia are aiming at "speculating on war".

Record-high temperatures possible this week
That would beat Wilmington's 1953 record of 70 degrees and Georgetown's 2014 record of 71 degrees, the weather service said. Temperatures today should reach the lower 80s in most locations, with record highs in some spots, including Montgomery.

The United States and Russian Federation, while backing opposite sides in the Syria conflict, have taken pains to make sure that their forces do not accidentally collide. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that five Russians who were not military personnel may have been killed in a clash with USA -led forces in Syria.

In recent days, media outlets, open-source researchers, and relatives and colleagues of Russian mercenary soldiers have said that many Russians - possibly dozens or hundreds - may have died in the exchange. "In other words, East of "deconflicting zone" - and obviously with lack of knowledge about the Russian officers with whom we are coordinating lines of communication to avoid conflict situations", said Mattis told reporters.

There are no Russian military servicemen in that area, Russia's Defense Ministry said.

"I doubt that 257 people all just decided on their individual own selves to suddenly cross the river into enemy territory and start shelling a location and maneuvering tanks against it", Mattis said.

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