The US Central Command (CENTCOM) has announced military drills will be held near its At Tanf garrison in the province of Homs, Syria on September 7 aimed at preparing the troops for further battles against Daesh* forces; however, CNN suggested that there is more to it.
According to an anonymous source in the Pentagon, cited by the news outlet, the drills are being conducted in response to recent warnings allegedly issued by Russia to the US via deconfliction communication lines. Citing Pentagon spokesman Sean Robertson, CNN reported that Moscow has planned to conduct "precision strikes" against militants in the At Tanf area, which is protected by the US-coalition.
The official statement by CENTCOM did not mention that the drills were a response to alleged Russian warnings. CENTCOM spokesman Capt. Bill Urban said the drills will "demonstrate the capability to deploy rapidly, assault a target and conduct a rapid exfiltration," but added that the exercises are aimed at bolstering "defeat-ISIS[Daesh]* capabilities." Furthermore, the CENTCOM statement noted that their Russian counterparts had been duly notified via deconfliction communication channels about the upcoming drills to "prevent miscommunications or escalations in tension."
The forces of the US-led coalition are conducting operations against Daesh* in Syria, despite protests from Damascus and the lack of authorization or mandate from the UN Security Council to do so. Syrian authorities consider US forces to be occupiers. On the other hand, the Russian Armed Forces were officially invited by Damascus to assist its forces in defeating terrorist groups acting on Syrian territory. Both US-led coalition and Russian forces in Syria have been in continuous contact via special channels over the last several years in order to avoid striking each other's positions or troops and to avoid confrontation.
*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist organization banned in Russia