MOSCOW, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- The Russian Defense Ministry denied the Pentagon's allegations of a Russian Aerospace Force strike on the Syrian opposition near the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, a spokesman of the ministry said Sunday.
"The priority targets for destruction are the terrorists' firing positions from which they are leading large-scale attacks on the Syrian forces," said the ministry's spokesman Igor Konashenkov, adding strikes on targets were based on reconnaissance information that is usually confirmed through multiple channels.
The Russian intelligence services did not find any clashes between Islamic State (IS) terrorists and any armed representatives of "third forces." Thus "only representatives of the international coalition themselves could explain how opposition members made their way into the IS forces in Deir ez-Zor without fighting, Konashenkov said.
The Russian spokesman also said that to avoid unnecessary escalation, command of the Russian forces in Syria using existing communication channels notified its U.S. counterparts in advance about the location of the military operation in Deir ez-Zor.
The Pentagon said in a statement on Saturday that Russian forces struck a target east of the Euphrates River in Syria near Deir ez-Zor, causing injuries to the Syrian opposition which is also known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The SDF, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, is supported by Washington.