Published: Sun, May 28, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

USA strikes Pro-Assad Military in Syria


US-led coalition aircraft have bombed a convoy of pro-Syrian government forces in a remote area near the border with Jordan, US and rebel officials say.

The pro-regime convoy had come within 18 miles the al-Tanf base, which houses USA and British special forces in southern Syria, and breached the "deconfliction zone" around the base.

The U.S. -led coalition has conducted airstrikes against pro-Syrian government forces near an area where Syria, Jordan and Iraq intersect.

US Air Force jets fired at troops advancing on a "de-confliction zone" near Al Tanf, where elite United Kingdom soldiers on a training mission are based.

The coalition said the de-confliction zone "remains in effect".

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The attack was the first such close confrontation between US forces and fighters backing President Bashar Assad.

"At every meeting, we would like to remind the attendees that state terrorism is being practiced against our country", al-Ja'afari alleged, tacitly referencing the isolated American military action, according to the Syrian state-run news agency SANA.

US officials said the strike was purely a defensive measure.

One of the US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, speculated that the group might have been trying to establish a position near the garrison in Syria used by USA and U.S. -backed forces around the town of At Tanf.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters the USA would defend its troops in case of "aggressive" steps against them.

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Syrian state media gave no precise toll in the attack, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, reported eight killed, with "most of them non-Syrian".

In 2016, American forces launched a strike against Syrian forces that was later deemed an accident.

A Pentagon official said the Syrian forces, were close to the Jordanian border and posed a threat to coalition partners on the ground. As the territory dominated by ISIS collapses in the face of advances by Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq forces in Mosul, though, the world's most crowded battlespace further shrinks.

The U.S. launched airstrikes against pro-Assad forces in Southern Syria on Thursday, the second attack on the regime since Donald Trump took office.

Aside from the April cruise missile strike, the coalition-backed forces have avoided contact with Assad regime forces.

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