Friday, 25 May, 2018

U.S. coalition bombs pro-Syrian gov't forces in Deir al-Zor

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 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
Lillian Steele | 08 February, 2018, 13:13

The U.S. coalition said in a statement that it launched the strikes in self-defense after as many as 500 attackers began what appeared to be a coordinated assault on an SDF headquarters, where the Turkish forces are accompanied by U.S. troops.

No US service personnel were injured or killed but one SDF member was wounded.

Assad regime forces hit the headquarters of the Syrian Democratic Forces. "There are about 2,000 US troops in Syria focused on the fight against ISIS", said Tom. Nevertheless, the official said the United States is looking into whether Russian-affiliated forces may have been involved.

The Syrian army, which is supported by Iranian-backed militias and Russian forces, are active on the other side of the river by the city of Deir al-Zor.

The coalition said the attack took place in the Middle Euphrates River Valley, eight kilometers east of the agreed upon "de-confliction" line which is created to separate Russian-backed regime troops and US-backed forces in Syria.

"We estimate more than 100 Syrian pro-regime forces were killed while engaging SDF and coalition forces", the official said, adding that the strikes targeted almost 500 personnel from "pro-regime" forces armed with tanks and artillery.

The official said about 100 pro-government forces were killed in the counterattack.

The U.S. maintains about 2,000 troops in the country.

The official added that it was unclear exactly who the pro-regime forces were but the U.S. is looking into whether Russian contractors operating in the vicinity might have been involved but added that there is no direct evidence yet that the Russians fired on the Syrian Democratic Forces facility where the U.S. advisers were located.

The official said it appeared the pro-government forces were trying to reassert government control of areas that the SDF troops had seized from the Islamic State a year ago, and possibly to capture oilfields in the area. They spoke on condition of anonymity as details were still emerging on the attack. The YPG is one of many groups that makes up the SDF.

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