Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

US Bombs Syrian, Iranian-Backed Forces For First Time, Leaving Eight Dead

Earlier on Thursday the US-led coalition announced it had bombed "pro-Syrian regime forces" near Tanf, a remote base in southern Syria near the Syria-Jordan-Iraq border.

The attack was the first close confrontation between US forces and fighters backing President Bashar Assad.

Syrian state media provided no precise figures about the number of casualties, but the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said eight people were killed in the attack.

A USA defence official said the pro-government convoy had not responded to numerous warnings that it was "getting too close to coalition forces" stationed at Tanf.

Syria's ally Russia said the strike had hit civilians and was unacceptable, Russian news agencies reported.

As the Islamic State is pushed out of Iraq and Syria by US -backed forces Iran has grown increasingly concerned about American influence in the region.

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We are not increasing our role in the Syrian civil war, he said.

The US-led coalition commander first attempted to get the pro-Assad forces out of the zone by dispatching two US aircraft as "a show of force".

Western intelligence sources told Reuters that usa and British special forces are expanding the Tanf base to oust Islamic State militants from the eastern province of Deir Zor, that straddles Iraq, from the south east of Syria.

According to David Martin, CBS News national security correspondent, the USA attacked regime vehicles that had violated a deconfliction zone twice in three days. Then, an unarmed Syrian bomber entered the zone but was intercepted by F-22 fighters.

Base at At Tanf has been used by advisers from the US-led global coalition to train Syrian rebels fighting ISIS. The coalition had so far kept its military operations focused on Islamic State militants and al-Qaida-linked groups. "Trump does not have Congressional authorization to attack Syria, a country that has not attacked USA". Separately, Syria's military supported by Russian Federation and Iranian-backed militias are fighting against the jihadist group, and against more moderate rebel factions in the south. The United States in April infuriated the Kremlin by bombing a Syrian regime air base in response to an alleged chemical attack by Damascus.

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