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Russia Stresses US Syria Presence Illegal after Deadly Deir Ezzor Strike

12 February, 2018, 01:36 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • US fighter jets were involved in raids against Syrian regime forces on Wednesday. Bram Janssen  AP

Pro-government forces had allegedly initiated "an unprovoked attack" against a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) headquarters in Deir Ezzor province overnight, before United States airstrikes and artillery attacks thwarted their advances and killed at least 100 people, a USA official said.

It accused the government forces of launching "an unprovoked attack on a well-established SDF position", where US Special Forces "advisors" who direct the Kurdish fighters were deployed.

The strikes took place on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 and were in response to an assault by forces loyal to Syrian Regime President Bashar al-Assad against the Kurdish-majority Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Kusham, Syria.

Syrian regime forces' initial coordinated attack included tanks, howitzers and more, but only one US-backed SDF fighter was injured.

Syrian ally Russian Federation has cast 11 vetoes on possible Security Council action on Syria since the civil war began in 2011, shielding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government.

100 people is a lot to kill, particularly since the United States supposedly isn't at war with Syria.

Separately, the USA -led air and artillery strikes began overnight Wednesday in Deir al-Zour province.

The Russian Defense Ministry reported that it had no military personnel in the area.

Calling the attack a "perplexing situation", Mattis said he could not give any explanation why they would shell the SDF headquarters with artillery. Additionally, Turkey has threatened to launch a military operation against Manbij, Syria, a place where U.S. troops do work with local Kurdish and Arab fighters.

One SDF fighter was wounded, officials said. But the United States argues that if it were to pull out, a fight for control over these areas would ensue.

The coalition observed a slow buildup of pro-regime forces over the past week, she added. However, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis dismissed the concerns, emphasizing that the actions of the coalition were done in self-defense.

A large-scale attack by over 500 Syrian troops aligned with Bashar al-Assad on a base used by USA troops and local United States allies underscored the challenges faced by the Trump administration as it seeks to implement its long-term strategy for Syria, with both the Russian-backed regime and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey recently conducting or threating attacks against America's primary ally in Syria.

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