DoD Admits it Has No Right to Prevent Damascus Allies From Stationing in al-Tanf

© AP Photo / Hammurabi's Justice NewsIn this photo taken on Tuesday May 23, 2017, provided by the Syrian anti-government activist group, the Hammurabi's Justice News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a U.S.-backed anti-government Syrian fighter form Maghaweer al-Thawra stands on a vehicle with heavy automatic machine gun, left, next of an American soldier who also stands on his armored vehicle, right, as they take their position at the Syrian-Iraqi crossing border point of Tanf, south Syria
In this photo taken on Tuesday May 23, 2017, provided by the Syrian anti-government activist group, the Hammurabi's Justice News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a U.S.-backed anti-government Syrian fighter form Maghaweer al-Thawra stands on a vehicle with heavy automatic machine gun, left, next of an American soldier who also stands on his armored vehicle, right, as they take their position at the Syrian-Iraqi crossing border point of Tanf, south Syria - Sputnik International
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No legal basis exists to prevent anyone from entering the deconfliction zone with Russia near Syria's al-Tanf, US Department of Defense spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis said in a briefing on Friday.

The Pentagon building in Washington, DC - Sputnik International
US Praises Russian Efforts to Settle Situation After Coalition's al-Tanf Strikes
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On June 8, the US-led coalition bombed pro-Damascus forces near al-Tanf in the area of a deconfliction zone following an alleged attack by a combat drone resulting in no coalition forces' casualties. This was the third attack by the coalition on Damascus' allies in the area. The coalition targeted a drone and trucks with weapons.

Earlier today, the Russian Defense Ministry slammed the move, saying that it seems that the US-led coalition is more interested in bombing the Syrian army instead of fighting terrorists. It also accused the coalition and Syrian rebels it supports of "conspiring" with Daesh leaders by letting them leave encirlement and move to other areas.

"This deconfliction zone is not an exclusion area, no legal basis we have to say 'nobody can come in in here.' That's not authority we have… We are acting based on action and perceived intent," Davis told reporters.

US Department of State said on Thursday that it does not consider the new strikes an escalation of tensions in the region.

In this photo taken on Tuesday May 23, 2017, provided by the Syrian anti-government activist group, the Hammurabi's Justice News, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a U.S.-backed anti-government Syrian fighter form Maghaweer al-Thawra stands on a vehicle with heavy automatic machine gun, left, next of an American soldier who also stands on his armored vehicle, right, as they take their position at the Syrian-Iraqi crossing border point of Tanf, south Syria - Sputnik International
US Coalition Bombs Syrian Army, Enhances Terrorists in Palmyra - Russian MoD
On May 18, the US-led coalition struck pro-Assad fighters near the town of al-Tanf in the area of an established deconfliction zone with Russia. The coalition strikes occurred near al-Tanf, where US' and British special operations forces have been training Syrian rebel fighters near the border with Iraq and Jordan. Russia slammed the move as a violation of international law.

On June 6, the Pentagon announced the coalition conducted a new strike on pro-Syrian government forces as they entered the de-confliction zone with Russia and posed threat to its personnel. The force comprised of a tank, artillery, anti-aircraft weapons, armed technical vehicles and more than 60 soldiers. A Syrian source told Sputnik on Tuesday that at least two Syrian servicemen were killed and more than 15 injured as a result of the coalition attack.

The United States and Russia signed the bilateral memorandum of understanding in October 2015 to ensure their flight safety during combat missions over Syria.

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