US Air Strike Targets Pro-Syrian Militia
- Author: Leroy Wright May 20, 2017,
May 20, 2017, 9:47
United States officials told Reuters earlier that the U.S. military carried out the air strike on Thursday against militia supported by the Syrian government that posed a threat to USA and US-backed Syrian fighters in the country's south near the Jordanian border.
The US official also said the coalition air strike did not directly target the Syrian army but Shia militias who support the Syrian government which was operating in the area.
"Such actions that were carried out against the Syrian armed forces... this is completely unacceptable, this is a breach of Syrian sovereignty", deputy foreign minister Gennady Gatilov was quoted as saying by state-run RIA Novosti in Geneva.
Gatilov, who the agencies said was speaking in Geneva, said the USA strike had violated Syria's sovereignty and would not help efforts to find a political solution to the conflict there.
The US-backed forces in that area are fighting against Daesh militants.
Iran has started using the militias they support, including Hezbollah, a Lebanese-based group, to attack the SDF, said Ahmad Majidyar, an analyst at the Middle East Institute. It also comes at a time when the USA presence in Syria is becoming more visible, mostly in the northern parts of the country where American troops are backing Kurdish-led forces fighting the Islamic State group.
When the forces did not respond, but began setting up fighting positions in the protected area, they were attacked.
The statement said the USA claims that they had warned the forces from advancing before firing were completely rejected.
A pro-regime convoy that was struck by US-led warplanes inside Syria this week likely was directed by Iran, Pentagon chief Jim Mattis said Friday.
We are not increasing our role in the Syrian civil war, he said.
The forces came within a 34-mile defensive zone around the at-Tanf base in southern Syria, according to the command. As BuzzFeed News reported last week, US Special Forces are deployed at the base with a unit of Syrian rebels.
The U.S. -led coalition is battling the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, in Syria and is generally not attacking Assad.
A Pentagon official said the Syrian forces, were close to the Jordanian border and posed a threat to coalition partners on the ground.
Before the USA strikes on Assad's forces.
The attack, which was condemned by Syria and Russian Federation and which threatens to inflame the war, came as President Trump set off on his first worldwide trip to the Middle East.
On April 7, the U.S. forces fired 59 Tomahawk missiles targeting Shayrat air base in Homs province after it was used in the regime chemical attack on the town of Khan Shaykhun.