Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

US strike hits pro-Assad forces in Syria

US strike hits pro-Assad forces in Syria

US-led coalition aircraft Thursday struck a pro-regime convoy apparently transporting Shi'ite militiamen in Syria as it headed toward a remote coalition garrison near the Jordanian border, United States defense officials said.

US-led coalition airstrikes on Syrian forces near the city of An Tanf hit a tank, a bulldozer and construction equipment.

In the end, US fighters were forced to engage the Syrian force by launching airstrikes against the convoy.

"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", said a USA defence official in Washington.

"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 At-Tanf", the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"This action was taken after apparent Russian attempts to dissuade Syrian pro-regime movement south toward At Tanf were unsuccessful, a coalition aircraft show of force, and the firing of warning shots", it said in a statement.

One opposition media group, the Palmyra News Network, says the attack at the Zarka juncture, about 27 kilometres from the border, destroyed a number of vehicles and led to casualties.

One of the defense officials - who, like the others, spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal details that the Pentagon had yet to make public - said that the USA acted to stop an advance of pro-regime forces toward Tanf.

Sanctions on missile work show 'ill will'
The Trump administration has announced that it will continue nuclear sanctions relief for Iran, keeping in place an Obama-era deal.

Tanf is part of a region known as the Badia, which consists of vast, sparsely populated desert territory that stretches all the way to the Jordanian and Iraqi borders and was declared a military priority by Syria's foreign minister earlier in May. An exception was the US cruise missile strike that were launched last month in retaliation for Assad's chemical weapons attack that killed 86 people.

The airstrikes come on the same day that UN-mediated talks got underway with a Syrian government delegation.

At-Tanf has been the target of repeated attacks in recent months.

The reports gave different death tolls for the IS attack on the village of Aqarab al-Safiyeh in central Syria.

Some of the women were beheaded and others had their limbs amputated.

Control of Hama province is divided between the government, rebel forces and IS, which is present mostly in the east of the area.

The Observatory said IS had seized control of Aqareb and part of Al-Mabujeh in the attack, which began with heavy shelling on a nearby regime checkpoint.

Like this: