Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday condemned a rare retaliatory airstrike by U.S. coalition forces against groups loyal to the Syrian government, and a Russian official rejected the claim that it was done in self-defense. The Wednesday attack came after pro-Assad forces launched an “unprovoked” attack against the Syrian Democratic Forces headquarters. Syrian state media called the retaliation strike an “attempt to support terrorism.” Russian legislator Franz Klintsevich said he doubted the U.S. purpose behind the strike, saying in an interview, “I don’t think anyone believes the Americans’ word.” According to The Washington Post, the Russian Defense Ministry also called the U.S. strike an effort to "seize and hold Syrian economic assets.” CNN reports that the U.S. is currently "looking into whether Russian contractors operating in the vicinity might have been involved" in the initial attack. Reuters states that none of the American troops embedded at the headquarters were believed to have been killed or injured in the initial attack.
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