USA air strike killed several soldiers near Jordan, says Syrian military

A US official said pro-Assad “forces must now withdraw outside of the established de-confliction zone to avert further Coalition action and remove the threat to our forces”.

The Syrian official said the latest strikes killed several soldiers, but the USA could not confirm that.

A statement from the US -led coalition said the convoy included Syrian forces and militias backed by Iran, and “posed a threat to USA and partner forces”, adding that Russian Federation was notified prior to the airstrike.

The airstrikes on Thursday mark the first time the United States military has deliberately hit pro-government forces in response to a threat against Western troops.

The US had already agreed with Russian Federation, which backs Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, that there would be no fighting in the area around Al Tanf.

American fighter jets on Thursday struck a convoy of forces loyal to the Syrian regime that approached a base where USA and British forces are training Syrian rebels to fight the Islamic State, VOA News reported.

“The new USA strike on government troops in Syria is a continuation of Washington’s non-constructive policy”, said Leonid Slutsky, the head of the International Affairs Committee of the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament.

The United States has led a coalition bombing IS in Syria since 2014, but in the past has avoided engaging with Syria or Iranian-backed forces battling rebel forces there.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon that the USA strike was defensive in nature.

‘This is not only an attack in Syria and against Syria, but also against Geneva [negotiations].

“The Syrian Arab Army is fighting terrorism on its territory, and no party has the right to determine the course of its operations”, the source said.

It said “those who claim to be fighting terrorist groups, should not fire at the Syrian army because it’s the legitimate force fighting the groups, but should direct their fire against the terrorist groups”. “Or, apparently against the advice of the Russians”, Mattis said Friday.

After a convoy of about twenty vehicles including tanks and bulldozers entered the deconfliction zone, U.S aircraft fired warning shots. That is a broad category that could include Lebanese Hezbollah, Iranian forces and militia and irregular Syrian forces known as shabiha.

The government-controlled Syrian Central Military Media (SCMM) said there’s an agreement between Syria, Russia and Iran about moving forward in the fight against ISIS in the desert near the Iraqi border, a location the Syrian government has vowed to reach.

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