US Planes Strike Pro-Assad Convoy in Southern Syria

Aaron Brown
May 22, 2017

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. Syria slammed the airstrike as a "blatant attack on forces fighting terrorism" and said several people were killed.

A US-led coalition commander attempted to get the pro-Assad forces out of the zone by dispatching two USA aircraft as "a show of force".

In a statement, the coalition said the strike had occurred "well inside" an established de-confliction zone northwest of the At-Tanf garrison, where British and United States of America commandos have been training and advising local forces fighting IS.

"We believe they moved into that zone against the advice of the Russians".

The U.S. military carried out the air strike on Thursday against Iran-backed Shiite militia supported by the Syrian regime that posed a threat to U.S. and U.S. -backed Syrian fighters in the country's south, U.S. officials told Reuters.

A Syrian military official confirmed the strike on state TV a day after the strike.

"Any military actions that lead to a deterioration in the situation in Syria obviously impact the political process", he said.

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"We welcome robust action against the foreign forces who have turned Syria into a killing field", he said.

"The coalition struck pro-regime forces... after apparent Russian attempts to dissuade Syrian pro-regime movement south towards al-Tanf were unsuccessful, a coalition aircraft show of force and the firing of warning shots", the statement said.

The presence of regime troops so close to the deconfliction zone in At Tanif "posed a threat to US partner forces", say command officials. Syrian government negotiator Bashar al-Ja'afari said he had raised the "massacre" committed by the USA "aggressor" with the UN.

The attack left 52 people dead, including more than two dozen women and children, some of whom were beheaded, as well as Syrian troops, the monitoring group said.

The region around Tanf, where the borders of Jordan, Syria and Iraq meet, has been considered a de-conflicted zone, under an agreement between the USA and Russian Federation that went into effect earlier this month.

"The new USA strike on government troops in Syria is a continuation of Washington's non-constructive policy", said Leonid Slutsky, the head of the International Affairs Committee of the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament.

"They were potentially probing to see how close they could get to al Tanf", an anonymous United States official said. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the eight fatalities were "mostly non-Syrians". A road between Iraq and Syria would facilitate the flow of assistance from Iran, which is a strong backer of Assad. The official added that forces of the USA -led coalition will continue to defend themselves against ISIS or any other threat to Coalition or partnered forces in the area.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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