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Syrian Conflict Update: Australia expresses regret over botched Syrian airstrikes

Australian prime minister expresses regret over the botched aircraft operation

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The airstrike operation which went wrong claimed the lives of 900 syrian soldiers. Image Courtesy:VOA
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  • Australia has expressed deep regret for its part in a botched airstrike in Syria that killed scores of Syrian government soldiers and endangered the fragile ceasefire in the region.
  • Australian defense officials have said the operation was targeting an Islamic State vessel that it had been following for some time.
  • It is reported that about 900 Syrian soldiers were mistakenly killed during the raid near a military port.

Australia has expressed deep regret for its part in a botched airstrike in Syria that killed scores of Syrian government soldiers and endangered the fragile ceasefire in the region. The attack was led by the U.S. military that said the coalition believed it was targeting positions of the so-called Islamic State.

The Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he regretted the loss of life and injury but will not speculate about why the air strike in eastern Syria went so badly wrong. It is reported that up to 90 Syrian government soldiers were mistakenly killed during the raid near a military airport.

Australian defense officials have said the coalition operation was targeting what was thought to have been an Islamic State fighting unit it had been tracking for some time.

Speaking in New York, where he is attending the United Nations’ General assembly, Turnbull told reporters the airstrikes were aborted as soon as the mistake came to light.

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“There were Australian aircraft involved in the operation. As soon as the commanders were advised that there were Syrian government forces affected the operation was discontinued and we regret the loss of life,” said Turnbull.

The strikes, which were abandoned when Russian forces notified the Americans, have increased tensions in a complex conflict. Analysts believe the botched raid will strain relations between Washington and Moscow, which have vastly different agendas in Syria.

Canberra has deployed six warplanes to the U.S.-led mission in Iraq and Syria, where it began bombing militant positions a year ago.Official defense department figures show Australian fighter jets have carried out 1,689 missions over Iraq and 42 over Syria.

Australia’s Air Task Group also includes an early warning aircraft and a transporter.

(VOA)

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Ola offers free rides in Melbourne

Founded in 2011, Ola has been competing against Uber in the Indian ride-hailing market

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Woman hiring taxi. Pixabay

Indian ride-sharing major Ola on Thursday announced that it has begun offering free rides in Australia’s Melbourne city as a soft launch of its services with local driver-partners.

“Customers in Melbourne city can download Ola application, register for an account and book their rides,” the city-based online cab aggregator said in a statement here. The company, however, did not specify how many free rides the passengers can avail, and up to what distance, in Melbourne.

Ola is giving free rides in Melbourne. VOA

On January 30, Ola announced its foray into the international market to rival US-based Uber. It began its operations in Australia in February starting with Perth and later in Sydney.

“Over the coming months, the rollout of operations in Australia will continue with cities like Brisbane, Gold Coast, Canberra, Adelaide, Darwin and Hobart,” the statement said.

Also Read: Electric Taxi trial run in India to start from May 24 in Nagpur

Over 15,000 registrations from local driver-partners across Australia have been received so far, it added. “With a low 7.5 per cent introductory commission rate, driver-partners can earn more money and access it easily.”

Founded in 2011, Ola has been competing against Uber in the Indian ride-hailing market. Ola claims to have 125 million users in 110 cities across the country. IANS

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