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United States jets bomb Assad tank convoy advancing on coalition base in Syria

United States jets bomb Assad tank convoy advancing on coalition base in Syria

The statement said the pro-regime militias "posed a threat to USA and partner forces at At Tanf", a remote base in southern Syria near the Syria-Jordan-Iraq border that coalition advisers have used to train "Vetted Syrian Opposition" to aid the fight against ISIS.

Military Times quotes officials describing the targeted militia as "pro-regime" but "not directly associated with the Syrian government".

The strikes were believed to have hit a regime-allied militia mixed with Syrian government forces, USA officials said.

Coalition forces even reached out to Russian counterparts, via the standing deconfliction channel between the two militaries, in order to halt the Syrian troops advancing into the zone, command officials say. When the Syrians insisted on proceeding into the area, the US planes were cleared to fire.

The Syrian government called the airstrikes a "blatant attack on forces fighting terrorism" on state television.

USA military officials have not yet determined if Syrian army forces were targeted in the strike or if they were militias aligned with the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. As BuzzFeed News reported last week, US Special Forces are deployed at the base with a unit of Syrian rebels.

A USA defence official told the FT the U.S. carried out a strike in southern Syria on Thursday.

Fine Gael ministers set to bid to succeed Enda Kenny
Mr Varadkar is expected to formally launch his campaign for the Fine Gael leadership on Saturday. He was due to step down at midnight to become acting party leader until a successor is chosen.

The U.S. military attacked a Syria-government airfield with 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles on April 6 in response to a chemical attack that killed dozens of civilians, including children.

That strike was in response to a sarin gas attack against civilians USA officials say was carried out by forces loyal to Assad.

Rebel officials said earlier this week that hundreds of troops and militiamen were advancing into the sparsely-populated desert region near the Jordan border, in an apparent attempt to halt recent rebel gains against so-called Islamic State (IS).

A statement from Centcom, the United States military command in the Middle East, said two strikes "destroyed two front-end loaders, a piece of construction equipment, a tactical vehicle and a tank".

A member of the USA -backed Syrian rebel forces told Reuters the convoy comprised Syrian and Iranian-backed militias and was headed toward the Tanf base when they clashed with some rebel forces.

Elsewhere in Syria on May 18, IS attacked several government-held villages in central Syria, capturing at least one of them.

The sixth round of Syrian peace talks in Geneva which started on Tuesday was "short, but productive, ' Gatilov said".


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