The US conveyed regret on Saturday over the coalition air strikes that it said accidently killed Syrian forces. Washington has acknowledged that an air strike that was intended to be against Islamic State (Isis) positions in the eastern city of Deir-Ezzor may have accidentally hit Syrian army forces.

A US military official told AFP, "We believe about a half-dozen vehicles, including what we think was a tank, were struck as well as personnel who were out in the open." The US military said that the coalition had stopped air strikes after Moscow informed them that Syrian military forces and vehicles may have been hit.

US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said, "We are investigating the incident. If we determine that we did indeed strike Syrian military personnel, that was not our intention. And we of course regret the loss of life [sic]."

However, Power has termed Russia's call for a closed door UN Security Council meeting in the aftermath of the attack a "stunt" which was "uniquely hypocritical" as the country over the past several years had blocked UN measures against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for using barrel bombs against his own people in rebel held areas.

She went on to say, "Russia really needs to stop the cheap point scoring and the grandstanding and the stunts and focus on what matters, which is implementation of something we negotiated in good faith with them."

"Even by Russia's standards, tonight's stunt, a stunt replete with moralism and grandstanding, is uniquely cynical and hypocritical." she added.

After the UN Security Council meeting, Russia's envoy to the UN Vitaly Churkin said that in his career as a diplomat he had "never seen such an extraordinary display of American heavy-handedness as we are witnessing today".

Russia said that the coalition air strike killed 62 Syrian soldiers and more than 100 were wounded. Two F-16 and two A-10 planes flew from Iraq into Syrian air space to carry out the strikes, the Russian military said. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll following the bombarding at 83 and confirmed that the raids were carried out by the US-led coalition.

Meanwhile, Australia offered condolences to the family members of the Syrian soldiers killed or wounded in the coalition air strikes, which the country had participated in. In a statement, the Australian Ministry of Defense said, "While Syria remains a dynamic and complex operating environment, Australia would never intentionally target a known Syrian military unit or actively support Daesh (also known as ISIL). Defence offers its condolences to the families of any Syrian personnel killed or wounded in this incident."

Samantha Power
US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said before the Security Council meeting that 'Russia really needs to stop the cheap point scoring and the grandstanding' REUTERS/Darren Ornitz