Tuesday, 6 June 2017

US-led coalition strikes pro-regime forces in Syria: official (See Details)

It was the second time in less than a month that coalition forces have attacked pro-regime forces, a group of whom are seen near Aleppo in March 2017, as they headed toward the garrison (AFP Photo/George OURFALIAN)
Washington (AFP) - The US-led coalition "destroyed" a unit of pro-regime forces in Syria on Tuesday as they advanced near an area where coalition commandos have been training and advising rebels, a military statement said.

A group of about 60 pro-regime soldiers moved into the area with a tank, artillery, anti-aircraft weapons and armed technical vehicles, posing a threat to the coalition forces at At-Tanf Garrison near the border with Jordan and Iraq, the coalition said in the statement.

"The coalition issued several warnings via the de-confliction line prior to destroying two artillery pieces, an anti-aircraft weapon, and damaging a tank," it said.

Syria's official SANA news agency said several people were killed, and accused the coalition of supporting terror.

"Warplanes belonging to the so-called international coalition attacked one of our military positions on the road to At-Tanf in the Shhaimeh region of Homs province, killing a number of people and causing some material damage," SANA quoted a military official as saying.

"This aggression once again demonstrates these forces' support for terrorism, at a time when the Syrian Arab Army and its allies are making daily progress against Daesh," the source added, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State.

US and British troops are based at At-Tanf, where they train local Syrian fighters for the battle against Islamic State forces.

The coalition said the contingent was "well advanced" into the 34-mile (55-mile) de-confliction zone, where any intrusion is considered hostile.

"The coalition is not looking for a fight with the Syrian regime or pro-regime forces, but it is ready to defend itself if pro-regime forces refuse to leave the de-confliction zone," it said.

The assault marked the second time in less than a month that coalition forces have attacked pro-regime forces as they headed toward the garrison.

Last month, coalition planes pounded the front of a convoy that had apparently been headed toward At-Tanf, in an established "deconfliction zone" northwest of the garrison.


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