US Bombs Syrian, Iranian Forces For First Time, Leaving Eight Dead

Lucy Bush
May 20, 2017

Earlier on Thursday the US-led coalition announced it had bombed "pro-Syrian regime forces" near Tanf, a remote base in southern Syria near the Syria-Jordan-Iraq border.

As long as the USA keeps backing anti-regime insurgents in Syria and is willing to attack pro-regime forces as part of that support, there will be a danger that an incident like this could lead to a larger conflict with the Syrian government and its patrons.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strike destroyed vehicles and killed eight militiamen.

Coalition officials initially tried to stem the advance of the Syrian military convoy with a series of warning shots and US aircraft carrying out a low flyover above the convoy in a show of force.

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There were no immediate details on any civilian injuries.

The region around Al Tanf, near the border with Jordan and Iraq, is considered a de-conflicted zone under an agreement between the United States and Russian Federation, the US -led coalition said. The statement also for the first time publicly confirmed the presence of United States forces in Tanf, saying that the "agreed upon de-confliction zone agreement remains in effect".

One of the defense officials - who, like the others, spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal details that the Pentagon had yet to make public - said that the United States acted to stop an advance of pro-regime forces toward Tanf.

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

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Iranian troops are said to be commanding the pro-Assad forces and a number of Lebanese Hezbollah fighters.

Meanwhile, in another development in the ongoing Syrian Civil War, ISIS forces committed atrocities against military servicemen and civilians in the Hama province in Central Syria.

The Pentagon said it had been operating in the Al-Tanf area for months training partner forces to battle IS. In April, National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster declared that Moscow's continued support for Assad and other regional forces "clearly cut against Russian interest [s]".

"This is not only an attack in Syria and against Syria, but also against Geneva [negotiations]".

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More than 400,000 people have so far been killed in the conflict which also triggered one of the world's worst refugee and humanitarian crisis with millions of people displaced. Trump was once skeptical about USA -backed anti-Assad rebels, saying in a 2015 debate that "we have no idea who they are", that many may in fact be ISIS, and that in any event "we can't be fighting ISIS and fighting Assad".

Other reports by Info About Network

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