Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:22PM
This file photo shows General Sergei Rudskoi of the Russian military's General Staff speaking during a briefing at the Russian Defense Ministry's headquarters in Moscow, Russia. (Via AP)
This file photo shows General Sergei Rudskoi of the Russian military's General Staff speaking during a briefing at the Russian Defense Ministry's headquarters in Moscow, Russia. (Via AP)

A high-ranking Russian military figure has leveled strident criticism against the US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group over pounding a major dam held by the extremists in Syria’s embattled northern province of Raqqah.

Lieutenant General Sergei Rudskoi of the Russian military's General Staff argued on Tuesday that the military contingent was trying to “completely destroy critical infrastructure in Syria and complicate post-war reconstruction as much as possible.”

He added that US-led military aircraft had destroyed four bridges over the Euphrates River in Syria and hit the Tabqa Dam that lies 40 kilometers west of Daesh’s main stronghold of Raqqah.

Rudskoi further warned that the collapse of the dam, most commonly known as the Euphrates Dam, would create an “ecological catastrophe” and lead to “numerous” civilian deaths.

The remakes came as a spokeswoman for the US-backed fighters from Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) – a Kurdish-dominated and anti-Damascus alliance – said on Monday that the Tabqa Dam is not damaged or malfunctioning and engineers fully inspected its operations.

This file picture shows a view of Tabqa Dam on the Euphrates River, near Raqqah, Syria, on June 25, 2014. (Photo by Reuters)

“We permitted a team of engineers to enter the dam to verify the process of its operations. They checked it fully. And there is no malfunction or damage to the dam or its operations as was rumored,” Jihan Sheikh Ahmed, the SPF's spokeswoman, said in a statement.

She accused Daesh terror group of spreading rumors aimed at causing panic among civilians.

Daesh, in a statement released on Sunday, announced that Tabqa Dam was out of service due to airstrikes being carried out by the US-led coalition, and could collapse.

The statement said pressure on the dam’s compromised structure was building up rapidly as more water flows into the reservoir, bringing it up to its maximum capacity, while the sluice gates normally used to relieve that pressure are jammed shut.