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State Dept. dismisses accusation from Russia that U.S. warplanes bombed Aleppo

By Doug G. Ware   |   Updated Feb. 11, 2016 at 7:45 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of State has dismissed claims by the Russian government that American warplanes bombed targets in northwest Syria on Wednesday -- including possibly two hospitals.

The Russian Ministry of Defense claimed Thursday that the United States military was behind the attack in the war-torn city of Aleppo. Moscow said two U.S. Air Force A-10 attack aircraft hit nine targets in the city, which has seen increased violence in recent weeks.

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"Two A-10 attack aircraft of the U.S. Air Force entered Syrian airspace from ... Turkey and, reaching Aleppo by the shortest path, made strikes against objects in the city," Russian Defense spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

Russia also said the United States bombed the targets as part of a secret mission and that two hospitals were possibly among the targets.

The State Department, though, was quick to dismiss the claims. Two American officials said U.S. military planes weren't anywhere near Aleppo Wednesday.

The accusation is the latest hit in deteriorating diplomatic relations between the United States and Russia, which have been at odds over Syria for years. Moscow has backed the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad while Washington supports the opposition.

Syria continues to deteriorate itself as the civil war enters its sixth year. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin have continued partial cooperation -- in fighting the Islamic State terror group -- but remain far apart on the resolution of the civil war.

Russia wants Assad to remain in power while the United States flatly rejects any ceasefire proposal that leaves his regime intact.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced later Thursday that an agreement had been reached toward implementing a ceasefire.

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