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Syria: US forces conducts air strikes against pro-government forces


Syria's state-run news agency, SANA, portrayed the regime's forces as "popular" and the US -led response as an act of "aggression".

It was not clear whether the casualties were the forces of the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, or of his allies, which include Russian Federation and Iran-backed militias like the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah.

The United States has plans to divide Syria, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who on Wednesday said he plans to discuss the matter with its American counterparts. Over 500 pro-government fighter armed with tanks, mortars, artillery and multiple-launch rocket systems carried out the attack, according to an unnamed USA military personnel.

He said the attacking force was made up of about 300 troops with tanks and artillery.

A United States military official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the U.S. bombing killed about 100 troops, but Veale said the military did not have an exact number for the casualties.

With the myriad forces increasingly turning their guns on each other, AFP takes a look at their competing interests.

The advancing forces were intending to seize nearby oilfields that the US-backed rebels captured from IS a year ago, Veale said.

The Euphrates has become a de facto border between regime-held areas and the 23% of Syrian territory held by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) - a mix of Kurdish and Arab militia. Officials believe they were trying to seize a nearby oil field.

A USA military official explained that the pro-Assad forces were "likely seeking to seize oilfields in Khusham that had been a major source of revenue for [ISIS] from 2014 to 2017". This official added that there is no direct evidence yet that the Russians had fired on the Syrian Democratic Forces facility where the United States advisers were located.

The coalition said on Thursday that the air raid targeted government troops who attacked Kurdish-led fighters on the previous day.

Kurds march in Strasbourg, Paris against Turkey's Syria offensive
The attack on the tank, details of which were not disclosed, was also the single deadliest attack on the military of the offensive so far.

"If we were getting involved in a broader conflict, then it would have had an initiative on our part", Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 56 people, including 10 children, were killed on Thursday.

"That's not realistic. We would like to see a ceasefire, the end of war in Syria, but the terrorists, I'm not sure they are in agreement", said Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia of the proposed one-month ceasefire.

He also said he doesn't think there were any Russian casualties.

"In defense of Coalition and partner forces, the Coalition conducted strikes against attacking forces to repel the act of aggression against partners engaged in the Global Coalition's defeat-Daesh mission".

CENTCOM said the attack occurred eight kilometers (five miles) east of the "Euphrates River de-confliction line", referring to a boundary agreed to by Russian Federation and the U.S., with the former's area of operations to the west of the river and the latter's to its east.

In the foreseeable future, the coalition will likely dig in its heels to protect the area from further regime attack, while opting to reinforce the de-confliction line over escalating, Hassan said. But he described the retaliatory US -led coalition strikes as defensive and limited in nature.

"We're now protecting a territory the size of IN and deepening our commitment to the S.D.F., with no sense of where this is going, no sense of strategy, no sense of endgame", said Mr. Miller, who was a State Department official IN Republican and Democratic administrations.

Syrian activists say the death toll from airstrikes and shelling of eastern suburbs of the capital Damascus has risen to at least 56. In June, a USA fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane after it bombed US -backed fighters.

This is not the first time the USA military has clashed with pro-regime forces in Syria. The US also shot down a pro-regime drone after it dropped a munition in the vicinity of US troops in Syria.

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