Led coalition reportedly strikes pro-regime convoy in Syria

Elias Hubbard
May 19, 2017

The army in a statement said the US-led anti-terror coalition attacked one of the military positions near the Tanf area on Thursday, leaving many personnel dead and causing some material losses, Xinhua news agency reported.

A defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss details of an overseas operation, said that US aircraft struck a convoy of several dozen vehicles, including a small number of tanks, that were advancing toward a USA -occupied garrison in Tanf, along the Syria-Iraq border.

According to USA Today, an official explained Thursday's strike as a defensive action that does not change the United States policy of focusing military efforts on battling Isis.

Coalition forces, it went on to assert, had been operating near Al-Tanf "for many months, training and advising vetted partner forces" engaged in the fight against the Daesh terrorist group.

It's also not clear how many casualties the USA airstrike caused, though the strike reportedly hit a tank and two earth movers.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Friday that a USA military strike the previous day against militia supported by the Syrian government was an unacceptable violation of Syria's sovereignty, Russian news agencies reported.

The United States has led a coalition bombing IS in Syria since 2014, but in the past has avoided engaging with Syria or Iranian-backed forces battling rebel forces there.

Various early reports describe the targets as Syrian regime forces, pro-government Shiite militia fighters, or a mix of the two. Especially if such actions are committed against the Syrian armed forces...

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strike killed eight militiamen, although there was no immediate comment from the pro-government side.

US fighter jets fired on Syrian regime-backed forces Thursday after they breached a "de-confliction zone" near the country's border with Jordan.

The coalition said "apparent" Russian attempts to stop pro-Assad forces from moving towards Tanf, as well as warning shots and a show of force, had failed. The strikes destroyed several vehicles.

Assad condemned that us strike on a Syrian airfield as "reckless", "irresponsible" and "short-sighted".

The US-backed forces in that area are fighting against Islamic State militants.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said America's role in Syria's conflict was unchanged.

The SOHR statement appeared to confirm a statement by an official from a US-backed Syrian rebel group who told a news agency that the convoy comprised Syrian and Iranian militia members.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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