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CNN goes on patrol with USA soldiers in Syria

08 February, 2018, 13:13 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • US-led coalition conducts ‘defensive’ airstrikes against Syrian forces

More than 100 fighters aligned with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were killed overnight when US coalition and coalition-backed local forces repelled their attack in eastern Syria, a USA official said on Thursday. The official said they have not ruled out that Iranian backed-forces might have also been involved in the attack.

Some 500 fighters had tried take ground captured from the Islamic State (IS) group by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Officials say the airstrikes were in defense "of coalition and partner forces".

A US official told CNN that the attackers crossed the Euphrates armed with artillery and other weapons.

Syrian state media said the USA -led coalition bombing had left dozens killed and wounded.

Artillery and tank rounds were used by pro-Bashar Assad soldiers against the US-backed Syria Democratic Forces on Wednesday. Last year, USA aircraft shot down a Syrian jet after pro-government forces attacked US allied units in northern Syria.

Syrian state news agency SANA, citing an army statement said its air defence units "destroyed most of" the Israeli missiles.

A military official, who provided information about the attack on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it on the record, said the attacking forces initiated the assault by lobbing artillery at the SDF and USA forces, who were located eight miles east of the Euphrates River. The state Al-Ikhbariyah TV said there were reports that dozens were killed.

A USA official told the news outlet that it was unclear yet whether Russian operators in the region were involved, and that the US had also not ruled out the possibility of the involvement of Iranian-backed forces.

The coalition said the attack occurred around 8 kilometres (5 miles) "east of the Euphrates River de-confliction line in Khusham", a town southeast of the provincial capital Deir al-Zor city.

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