WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The coalition strikes reportedly occurred near al-Tanf town, where US' and British special operations forces have been training Syrian rebel fighters near the border with Iraq and Jordan.
A US defense official told Sputnik that the US-led coalition struck the pro-Assad fighters near the town of al-Tanf in the area of an established deconflication zone with Russia.
According to the media outlet, US officials explain the strikes as "force protection" for the US Special Forces based in the area. Reuters cited a US official as saying that the strikes occurred after "warning shots by U.S. aircraft meant to disuade the [Syrian army's] fighters."
BREAKING: US official confirms to @BuzzFeedNews that the US-led Coalition hit Assad regime forces with air strikes in southern Syria today— Mike Giglio (@mike_giglio) 18 мая 2017 г.
It is unclear yet whether the strikes have killed any Syrian soldiers or pro-government militia fighters as there has been no official comment from Damascus so far. The Pentagon has released no official statement as well.
According to a BuzzFeed News reporter, Syrian rebels based with the US Special Forces in the area said that militia supporting the Syrian army has been nearby as well.
US likely wants to get regime + allies to keep distance from US SF base at Tanf with strikes. But could escalate with myriad forces around— Mike Giglio (@mike_giglio) 18 мая 2017 г.
"We notified the coalition that we were being attacked by the Syrian army and Iranians in this point and the coalition came and destroyed the advancing convoy," the Pentagon-backed rebel group called the Maghawir al Thwra told Reuters.
"A convoy going down the road didn't respond to numerous ways for it to be warned off from getting too close to coalition forces in al-Tanf," an unnamed official told AFP.
On Monday, Al-Masdr News reported that Syrian Arab Army soldiers along and militias affiliated with the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units are preparing to recapture the nearby Tanf Border crossing from Daesh.
Media reports suggested that Syrian rebels have voiced concerns over the Syrian army getting "too close" to the US Special Forces' base in al-Tanf.
rebels worried last week that regime forces would get too close to US SF base at Tanf. it seems that happened today, and Coalition struck— Mike Giglio (@mike_giglio) 18 мая 2017 г.
In April, Daesh terrorists attempted to take the US base near al-Tanf in which three US-backed Syrian rebels were killed.
In the early hours of April 7, the United States launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian military airfield in Ash Sha’irat, located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the city of Homs. US President Donald Trump said the attack was a response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria's Idlib, which Washington blames on the Syrian government.
On September 17, 2016, US-led coalition aircraft carried out four strikes against the Syrian army near the Deir ez-Zor airport, killing 62 soldiers and wounding some 100. The Pentagon said that the airstrike was a mistake and was intended to target Daesh militants, while a number of Syrian officials stated that the attack was intentional. Later, the Pentagon released a report claiming that the US-led coalition's forces struck the Syrian army in Deir ez-Zor as a result of an "unintentional, regrettable error."