Pro-government forces attack US, Kurdish troops in eastern Syria

Violet Powell
February 8, 2018

The US coalition in Syria conducted airstrikes against pro-Assad regime forces on Wednesday, in a fresh escalation between the two sides.

Officials say the USA was in contact with Russian counterparts during and after the attack and were assured that Russia would not engage coalition forces in the vicinity.

"After 20 to 30 artillery and tank rounds landed within 500 meters of the SDF headquarters location, Syrian Democratic Forces supported by the Coalition targeted the aggressors with a combination of air and artillery strikes", a USA coalition statement said.

"We estimate more than 100 Syrian pro-regime forces were killed while engaging (Syrian Democratic Forces) and Coalition forces".

"In defense of Coalition and partner forces, the Coalition conducted strikes against attacking forces to repel the act of aggression against partners engaged in the Global Coalition's defeat-Daesh mission", a CENTCOM statement said, referring to the alternative label for Islamic State militants.

The combination of air and artillery strikes came after pro-regime troops attacked the compound of the Syrian Democratic Forces.

Officials said no US troops were injured or killed.

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

He said the coalition suspected that pro-regime forces were attempting to seize territory, including lucrative oil fields, that the Syrian Democratic Forces had liberated from ISIS in September. No US forces were injured during the attack according to reports from multiple news outlets. Uber exec says "no justification" for covering up breach MORE outlined a plan for USA policy in Syria, stating that a full troop withdrawal would be disastrous for the country.

USA officials said it was not immediately clear whether the attacking forces were part of the the Syrian military or belonged to foreign militias or other units who fight in support of the government. "Russian officials assured Coalition officials they would not engage Coalition forces in the vicinity".

The United States maintains about 2,000 troop in Syria, mostly working with the estimated 50,000 Syrian Democratic Forces.

No U.S. military members were injured in the clash.

A US Navy F/A-18 shot down a Syrian regime Su-22 jet last June that had attacked US-backed forces on the ground.

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