USA coalition bombs pro-Syrian gov't forces in Deir al-Zor

08 February, 2018, 13:12 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Susannah George  APAmerican troops look out toward the border with Turkey from a small outpost near the town of Manbij northern Syria Feb. 7 2018

A US military spokesman said the United States launched air and artillery strikes after Syrian government forces attacked a compound belonging to the Syrian Democratic Forces, a USA ally, in Khusham, Syria, Politico reported.

There are about 2,000 American troops in Syria, mostly operating in support of the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF), a Kurdish-dominated group that have helped expel the Islamic State from most areas it once controlled.

The incident marks one of a limited number of times in which the United States has struck out directly at forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Euphrates, which flows through northeastern Syria, functions as a demarcation line separating the American-backed SDF and forces of the Bashar Assad regime backed by Russian Federation and Iran who are active around the city of Deir el-Zour.

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The initial attack happened eight kilometers, or roughly five miles, east of the de-confliction line on the Euphrates River.

The US-led coalition had previously alerted Russian officials about the presence of SDF forces in nearby Khusham after seeing a slow build-up of pro-government forces during the last week.

Neither U.S. officials nor the U.S. -backed coalition have offered details on the identity of attacking forces.

Following the siege on Raqqa, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said that USA forces would focus on diplomacy and that they "won't just walk away" from efforts to stabilize the region.

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"The coalition conducted strikes against attacking forces to repeal the act of aggression", it said.

Officials said no US troops were injured or killed.

The US-led coalition in Syria responded to an attack by Syrian pro-regime forces on February 7, according to a statement from the Combined Joint Task Force, Operation Inherent Resolve. The official said they have not ruled out that Iranian backed-forces might have also been involved in the attack. One SDF member was injured.

Neither was it clear whether Russian Federation, which is conducting its own air campaign in support of the Syrian government, may have had any role in the incident.

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