World

Russia, US in row over coalition strikes on Syrian forces

Russia, US in row over coalition strikes on Syrian forces

The U.S. -led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) said the strike happened Thursday when pro-regime forces advanced in a "de-confliction zone" and posed a threat to coalition-backed forces.

The airstrikes took place near the southern Syrian town of At Tanf, where US and coalition forces had established a so-called "de-confliction zone", which also was home to a USA training camp for moderate Syrian militias, according to a command statement posted on the coalition's Twitter site.

Coalition officials said Russian forces had apparently unsuccessfully tried to dissuade the pro-regime movement south.

Ominously, the Syrian regime has its own base fairly close to the one American forces are using to train opposition fighters, and the Syrian base is said to be ready to support "about a battalion's worth of troops". It was at that point that USA and coalition jets escalated their warnings.

A militia aligned with the Syrian government was bombed by US forces in the southern part of that country according to a Pentagon official.

The US strike was the second deliberate military attack on forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Syrian military official said that attempts to justify this attack by claiming that the targeted troops did not respond to the warning not to advance are "categorically rejected".




A United States defence official told the FT the United States carried out a strike in southern Syria on Thursday.

America has been militarily involved in Syria since 2014 but has for the most part avoided engaging directly in the country's civil war.

The convoy was hit on Thursday as it neared a group of US-backed rebels and a Western special forces unit in Tanf.

Two American aircraft were dispatched to buzz the convoy, and warning shots were fired.

BuzzFeed News is the first to have reported USA confirmation that it launched these new strikes.

The Pentagon said it had been operating in the Al-Tanf area for months training partner forces to battle IS. "Trump does not have Congressional authorization to attack Syria, a country that has not attacked United States".

The sixth round of Syrian peace talks in Geneva which started on Tuesday was "short, but productive, ' Gatilov said".


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