Coalition Strikes at Pro-Regime Forces in Syria Deconfliction Zone

Coalition Strikes at Pro-Regime Forces in Syria Deconfliction Zone”

A US official confirmed that the coalition reached out via the Russian military through the deconfliction hotline, as well as taking "a variety of steps" to de-escalate the situation.

A military alliance fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad said on Wednesday it could hit USA positions in Syria, warning that its "self-restraint" over US air strikes on government forces would end if Washington crossed "red lines".

The coalition said the warning to the encroaching pro-regime forces had been issued through the so-called "de-confliction line".

The U.S. doesn't speak directly with Assad's government, which it accuses of various atrocities over more than six years of civil war. Russian Federation is a military ally of Assad's government.

This is the second time the coalition has struck fighters loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad in an established protected zone where the coalition is training allied rebels to fight ISIS.

On May 18, the U.S. air force struck a convoy of pro-government fighters advancing in the desert near the Tanf border crossing with Iraq.

A statement says the pro-Assad forces ignored several coalition warnings prior to destroying two artillery pieces, an anti-aircraft weapon, and damaging a tank.

"Within a few days, you will find us at the Iraqi border, and we will achieve a great and historic victory in the history of this crisis - cleansing the entire Badia, liberating the Tanf road. and restoring the vital artery between Iraq and Syria", said one of the soldiers interviewed by the state TV channel in the Badia area. It wasn't clear how many are there or if they might be preparing to leave.

US officials haven't identified the forces exactly, but they have described them as being backed or directed by Iran.

The convoy appears to have consisted not of regular Syrian army soldiers but of global Shia militiamen.

The clash comes as US-backed groups launch a long-anticipated offensive to oust Daesh from its de facto Syrian capital further north in Raqqah. "We can not recognize such zones", he said.

Raqqa was among the first cities captured by the Islamic State, in January 2014, and has been the home of some of the group's most prominent leaders.

Al-Tanf on the Syrian-Jordanian border, which Russian warplanes bombed a year ago in two successive airstrikes, is manned by United States and British Special Forces that are advising an anti-ISIS Syrian rebel group known as Maghawir al-Thawra, or the Commandos of the Revolution.

"They are down to their last neighborhood in Mosul and they already lost part of Raqqa, and the Raqqa campaign from here will only accelerate", he said.

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