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US Attacks Pro-Assad Forces In Syria, Escalating Tensions
08 February 2018, 09:30 | Darnell Patrick
More than 100 Assad fighters killed in clash with US in eastern Syria
"Syrian pro-regime forces maneuvered T-54 and T-72 main battle tanks with supporting mortar fire in what appears to be a coordinated attack on Syrian Democratic Forces approximately 8 kilometers east of the Euphrates River de-confliction line in Khusham, Syria", the military official said.
Artillery and tank rounds were used by pro-Bashar Assad soldiers against the US-backed Syria Democratic Forces on Wednesday.
The Syrian Democratic Forces have been a crucial American ally in the fight against ISIS. But the Trump administration's hope for a lessening of hostilities in Syria's larger civil war has not materialized so far, as Turkish, Russian, Iranian and other forces are brought into ever closer proximity as they vie to determine control of and pursue their own long-term interests in Syria.
United States forces reportedly responded to an "unprovoked attack" by Syrian pro-regime forces with airstrikes.
No American troops were killed or wounded in the incident, officials said.
The SDF is an alliance of Arab and Kurdish militias in northern and eastern Syria and with US backing are fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The official said about 100 pro-government forces were killed in the counterattack.
More than 100 Pro-government Fighters were Killed in Air Strikes in Syria
On May 18, they attacked pro-regime forces that continued approaching coalition troops despite warning shots and Russian attempts to halt the troops.
Another military official, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, said not all the attacking forces were wearing uniforms, making it more hard to identify them. The US military command insisted that while its primary focus remains the defeat of ISIL in the middle Euphrates river valley, it at the same time "asserts its non-negotiable right to act in self defence".
US officials declined to provide details on the military assets that were used to beat back the assault, which nations they were from, or the number of advisers in the area. "Russian officials assured Coalition officials they would not engage Coalition forces in the vicinity".
The US maintains about 2,000 troops in Syria, who mostly work with the over 50,000-strong Syrian Democratic Forces, a mix of Kurdish and Arab fighters who have been the primary US-backed force fighting ISIS in Syria.
US -backed forces retook the Islamic State terror group's de facto capital, Raqqa, last October.
The attack took place on the same day that Israeli fighters jets struck the Jemraya research center near Damascus, according to Syrian news reports.
Around 2,000 U.S. troops were reportedly deployed to Syria, according to the Defense Department.
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