Strikes carried out on Thursday near Tanf base; US Secretary of Defense: We are not increasing our role in the Syrian civil war, but we will defend our troops.
The US- coalition tasked with combatting ISIS carried out strikes on Syrian army and Iranian-backed militia convoy in Syria on Thursday.
US- coalition jets of Operation Inherent Resolve reportedly bombed pro-Assad and Iranian militiamen near the Tanf base close to the Jordan border. According to US officials, the militia was setting up fighting positions and was a threat to rebel forces and U.S forces in the region- a demilitarized zone.
The strikes were carried out after rebel forces contacted the coalition, a rebel stating “We notified the coalition that we were being attacked by the Syrian army and Iranians in this point, and the coalition came and destroyed the advancing convoy.”
The coalition reported that it had contacted the Russian military before the strikes, which were unable to stop the militia, and that warning shots were sent to dissuade the militiamen.
The United States has been clear that is does not involve itself in Syria’s civil war, United States Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis stating on the incident Tuesday, “We are not increasing our role in the Syrian civil war, but we will defend our troops. And that is a coalition element made up of more than just U.S. troops, and so we will defend ourselves if people take aggressive steps against us.”
Last month, US forces of Operation Inherent Resolve carried out airstrikes targeting Islamic State targets in Syria in a mission targeting known al-Qaeda and ISIS chemical weapons storage in the Deir al-Zor region.