US Air Strike Targets Pro-Syrian Militia

The area around al-Tanf has been a source of tensions as both Syrian regime forces and us -backed rebels advance there trying to rout Daesh terrorist group from the region.

The US military has carried out an air strike against a convoy of Syrian pro-government fighters who posed a threat to US-backed forces in the country's south near the Jordan border.

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.

USA warplanes have struck Syrian pro-regime forces in a mission to protect British and American soldiers in the country's southeast.

Local media have reported the strikes caused casualties and destroyed a number of vehicles.

The reports indicated that the military convoy hit consisted of members of a pro-Assad Syrian militia, not the official Syrian armed forces.

Since they appeared defensive in nature, Thursday's strikes did not suggest a shift in the US military's focus in Syria, which has been on battling Islamic State militants.

Islamic State attacked the base last month and recently regime forces have been pushing forward nearby, raising fears of a collision with coalition forces.

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The Pentagon official also said the attack on forces does not reflect an escalation, and that the policy remains unchanged.

Pentagon officials have said in the past that the US military would defend its forces if they were threatened inside Syria by Assad's government.

They said in a statement that the Syrian forces "posed a threat" to United States and allied troops at Tanf base near the Syria-Iraq-Jordan border.

Last month, the US fired 59 missiles at a government air base in central Syria as punishment for a chemical attack blamed on Assad's forces that killed nearly 90 people.

US officials and Syrian activists said the airstrike took place in the Tanf desert along a highway near the border with Jordan, although it was unclear if it struck the Syrian army or just militias allied with the government.

The airstrikes took place near the southern Syrian town of At Tanf, where US and coalition forces had established a so-called "de-confliction zone", which also was home to a USA training camp for moderate Syrian militias, according to a command statement posted on the coalition's Twitter site. The Tanf area has been considered a de-conflicted zone between the US and Russian Federation, as part of an agreement that went into effect earlier this month.

The statement by the USA -led coalition acknowledged a zone but did not offer any details about it, other than to say it was still active. That thinking changed in April with the missile strike fired against Assad's air force in response to Assad's deadly chemical weapons attack.

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