USA conducts airstrikes against Syrian pro-regime forces after ‘unprovoked attack’

US-Led Coalition Forces Strike 'Syrian Pro-Regime' Forces

The US-led coalition killed at least 100 regime and allied fighters in retaliation for an attack in eastern Syria, a US official said, in one of the deadliest incidents of its kind.

Coalition officials were in regular contact with their Russian counterparts before, during and after the attack, who had assured them that they would not target USA and SDF forces in the area.

Military officials said the strike was launched after as many as 500 attackers began an assault on opposition forces accompanied by USA advisers in Deir el-Zour province.

The flare-up lasted into the small hours of Thursday and was sparked by an attack on positions held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Deir Ezzor province.

One SDF fighter was wounded, the official said.

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

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The forces were "likely seeking to seize oilfields in Khusham that had been a major source of revenue for Daesh from 2014 to 2017".

The U.S. -backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), aided by coalition support, are battling Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants east of the Euphrates River. But the Trump administration's hope for a lessening of hostilities in Syria's larger civil war has not materialized so far, as Turkish, Russian, Iranian and other forces are brought into ever closer proximity as they vie to determine control of and pursue their own long-term interests in Syria.

Neither U.S. officials nor the U.S. -backed coalition have offered details on the identity of attacking forces.

Statements carried by Syrian television stations called it a "new aggression" and "an attempt to support terrorism". The state Al-Ikhbariyah TV said there were reports that dozens were killed.

The attack occurred eight kilometers east of the "agreed-upon Euphrates River de-confliction line".

Coalition aircraft have also struck regime forces that were perceived as posing a threat to a base at At Tanf, Syria that houses United States and coalition military advisers.

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