Russia Denounces, Calls Unacceptable US-Led Attack on Syrian Forces
In an email to The Associated Press, the US -led coalition’s press office said that Syrian pro-government “forces must now withdraw outside of the established de-confliction zone to avert further Coalition action and remove the threat to our forces”.
Thursday’s air strike did not on its own suggest a shift in the US military’s focus in Syria, which has been on battling Islamic State militants.
US-led coalition aircraft Thursday struck a pro-regime convoy apparently transporting Shia militiamen in Syria as it headed toward a remote coalition garrison near the Jordanian border, USA defense officials said.
Earlier it was reported that the USA -led coalition attacked a Syrian government convoy Thursday.
The coalition said it carried out the strike after Russian attempts to halt the advance on the town apparently failed to stop the troops from advancing.
Coalition forces, it went on to assert, had been operating near Al-Tanf “for many months, training and advising vetted partner forces” engaged in the fight against the Daesh terrorist group.
“Whatever the reason for the US strike was, it was illegitimate and marked another flagrant violation of Syria’s sovereignty”, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on a trip to Cyprus. It appeared the convoy had moved into the area against the advice of the Russians, Mattis said. Syrian state media gave no precise toll in the attack, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, reported eight killed, “most of them non-Syrian”.
He also noted that in this particular area, there are districts which are under the control of Syrian Kurds and US-backed opposition forces.
President Bashar Assad’s army is trying to prevent US-backed forces from leading that fight.
“At every meeting, we would like to remind the attendees that state terrorism is being practiced against our country”, al-Ja’afari alleged, tacitly referencing the isolated American military action, according to the Syrian state-run news agency SANA. “This brazen attack by the so-called global coalition exposes the falseness of its claims to be fighting terrorism”.
“A convoy going down the road didn’t respond to numerous ways for it to be warned off from getting too close to coalition forces in al-Tanf”, said one of the officials, adding that British and United States commandoes have been training anti-Damascus militants at the base in Homs province. The area is called al-Waleed in Iraq. A good diplomatic relationship between Iran and Western countries, as well as with neighboring Saudi Arabia, which supports Syrian rebel groups, could facilitate possible future peace negotiations.
British special forces were first spotted near the heavily fortified Al Tanf base, close to the Jordanian and Iraqi borders, last June.