MOSCOW, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- Syrian militias came under fire of the U.S.-led coalition and its local allies as they had failed to inform the Russian military about their plans to conduct a reconnaissance and search operation, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement Thursday.
According to the statement, a pro-government militia unit on Wednesday conducted a reconnaissance and search operation in the vicinity of an oil refinery in the province of Deir al-Zour to identify and destroy a bandit group responsible for shelling government troop positions.
However, during the mission, the Syrian militiamen were subjected to sudden shelling from mortars and multiple launch rocket systems and then came under fire from helicopters of the U.S.-led coalition, the statement said.
Earlier on Wednesday, the U.S.-led coalition said it carried out Wednesday air strikes against "Syrian pro-regime forces" that launched an "unprovoked attack" on Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)' headquarters and killed an estimated 100 militiamen.
The coalition said it suspected pro-government forces tried to seize lucrative oil fields, which the SDF had earlier liberated from Islamic State (IS) terrorists.
Following the incident, the Russian command at the air base of Hmeymim established channels of interaction with representatives of the international coalition headquarters, which stated that the local oil refinery was controlled by the SDF and U.S. military personnel, the statement said.
"The incident once again demonstrated that the true aim of continued illegal deployment of U.S. forces on the Syrian territory is no longer fighting the IS international terrorist group, but seizure and retention of economic assets which belong to Syria," it said.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesday that military experts and diplomats were currently collecting data on the incident and would comment later.