Russia says missiles aimed at Syria did not land in Iran


MOSCOW, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. officials said at least four Russian missiles launched from the Caspian Sea toward Syria landed in Iran, reports Russian officials deny.

U.S. military and intelligence reports, as well as unnamed U.S. officials, said Thursday at least four missiles aimed at Syrian targets crashed in Iran after likely traveling in a straight line over Iran and Iraq. Russia strongly denied the reports, noting 26 missiles were fired at 11 Islamic State targets in Syria Wednesday, and each struck its target.

A Facebook post Thursday by the Russian Defense Ministry noted, "No matter how unpleasant and unexpected it is for our colleagues in the Pentagon and Langley [CIA headquarters], our strike yesterday with precision-guided weapons at [IS] infrastructure in Syria hit its targets."

Iran's Irna news agency reported a flying object of unknown nature crashed in the village of Ghozghapan, West Azerbaijan province. The Iranian territory was likely under the missiles' flight plan. But the more mainstream Iranian Fars News Service said U.S. officials' reports on the missile crashes were "psychological operations by the U.S. against Moscow."

"Since Russia began its operations in Syria, Western media and officials have launched an all-out assault against Moscow," the news service said.

The conflicting accounts of the missile strike results are a reflection of the lack of coordination between the United States and Russia in fighting what they say is the same enemy in Syria -- IS, also identified as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL. U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter earlier this week said Russia's "tragically flawed" strategy in Syria increasingly appears to involve propping up the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against rebel forces.

Military officials in Russia and representing the U.S.-led coalition have not established any protocols for sharing Syrian air space as each side employs airstrikes.

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