The Government Of Bashar-al-Assad Levels Massacre Accusations Against Washington
Feb 12, 2018, 00:35
The pro-government forces had been backed by artillery, tanks and other heavy weaponry when they attacked an SDF headquarters "eight kilometres [5 miles] east of the agreed-upon Euphrates River de-confliction line", U.S. officials said.
"The coalition remains committed to focusing on the defeat-Daesh mission in the Middle Euphrates River Valley and asserts its non-negotiable right to act in self-defense", the statement said, using an Arabic term for the Islamic State.
The U.S. military suspects the pro-regime forces were trying to move in on oil fields previously held by the Islamic State group for the past three years, but are now controlled by U.S. -backed fighters, another official said.
Washington has deployed 2,000 soldiers in Syria, mainly special forces, who support the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an Arab-Kurdish coalition fighting the IS.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jamie Jarrord (left) thanks Manbij Military Council commander Muhammed Abu Adeel during a visit to a small outpost near the town of Manbij in northern Syria on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018.
The coalition's counter-offensive involved F-22 stealth jets, F-15 fighters, and MQ-9 drones, as well as a U.S. High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).
Regime forces were likely attempting to take an oilfield near Khusham.
"We are not looking for a conflict with the regime", she added.
The strikes inflicted what could be the largest number casualties that the coalition has exacted against the pro-regime forces. Assad's troops did not fair as well, with more than 100 reported dead or injured.
In a statement, it said 25 militia were wounded, and accused the U.S. of being motivated by economic concerns as the strike took place near an oil refinery.
"Coalition officials were in regular communication with Russian counterparts before, during and after the thwarted PRF [pro-regime forces] attack", Veale said.
This latest attack raises questions about whether US troops might exchange fire with Russian forces, which back Assad.
In June a United States warplane shoots down a Syrian jet for the first time after it bombs SDF fighters.
Inherent Resolve is in Syria and Iraq with an explicit objective to defeat ISIS, not to fight Assad's forces. The media cited reports of dozens killed and wounded.
CNN reported Thursday afternoon that USA forces are now looking into whether Russian contractors were involved in the initial attack against US -allied forces, which did not lead to any US casualties.
SOHR said the fighters that attacked the SDF headquarters consisted of Afghan Shiite forces and local tribesmen in support of President Bashar Assad.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry on Thursday strongly condemned the US-led air strikes, accusing the U.S. war planes of "committing a massacre" against pro-government forces.
According to Russia's top diplomat, the U.S. has reneged on its assurances that the only goal of its presence in Syria "without an invitation from the legitimate government" is to defeat ISIS.
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