U.S. denies airstrikes that killed dozens of Syrian troops

June 18 (UPI) — The United States military has denied responsibility for a series of airstrikes in Syria Monday that killed dozens of government forces.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 40 government fighters loyal to President Bashar al-Assad died in the attack overnight.

The death toll is expected to rise, the British-based watch group said.

Syrian state news agency SANA said the U.S.-led coalition launched the airstrikes that targeted military positions in the Deir Ezzor area.

SANA called the coalition strikes a “desperate attempt” to raise the morale of rebels groups and terror organizations.

If the U.S.-led coalition was responsible, the attack would mark the second major bombing of Syrian Army troops in the past year.

Pentagon spokesman Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway told Russia’s TASS news agency the United States did not conduct the airstrikes.

“We haven’t carried out a strike in Abu Kamal,” Rankine-Galloway said.

U.S. Central Command spokesman Maj. Josh Jacques also said U.S. and coalition forces were not involved.