World Media

United States jets bomb Assad tank convoy advancing on coalition base in Syria

United States jets bomb Assad tank convoy advancing on coalition base in Syria

United States warplanes have struck pro-Syrian government forces that were said to pose a threat to American troops and allied rebels operating near the border with Jordan. The U.S. -led coalition operates a training facility there for Syrian opposition forces fighting ISIS.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov also said the strikes had targeted "the Syrian armed forces".

There were no immediate details on any civilian injuries.

It's also not clear how many casualties the US airstrike caused, though the strike reportedly hit a tank and two earth movers.

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 US commandos have been training and advising local forces fighting IS.

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Syria yesterday condemned a US-led coalition strike on pro-government forces as a "brazen attack" and said it would "not be intimidated" after the surprise assault.

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

A member of the USA -backed Syrian rebel forces told Reuters the convoy comprised Syrian and Iranian-backed militias and was headed toward the Tanf base when they clashed with some rebel forces.

The Syrian Observervatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said eight fighters non-Syrian fighters were killed in the USA attack.

As the Wall Street Journal's Yaroslav Trofimov notes, Thursday's strike is significant not because the US has once again struck Assad's forces, but because it did so in defense of Syrian rebels.

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"We discussed the massacre that the USA aggressor committed yesterday in our country". Al-Tanf came under attack by ISIS in April and Russian aircraft bombed the base last summer.

The coalition had so far kept its military operations focused on Islamic State militants and al-Qaida-linked groups.

Muzahem al Saloum, from the Maghawir al Thwra group, told Reuters that the jets struck after some rebel forces clashed with Syrian and Iranian militias after they had advanced to about 17 miles (27 km) from the base.

The American strikes were the first against Assad positions since the Pentagon rained 57 Tomahawk missiles on the Shayrat air base near Homs.

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