At least 484 civilians killed in US-led strikes in Iraq, Syria
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 03, 2017,
Jun 03, 2017, 20:00
USA -backed rebels took Tanf from ISIS past year, and regional intelligence sources say they mean to use it as a launchpad to capture Bukamal, a town on Syria's border with Iraq and an important jihadist supply route, the report said.
The warnings were included in 90,000 brightly-colored leaflets the US dropped in the area over the weekend.
Dillon added that "we have increased our presence and our footprint and prepared for any threat that is presented by" pro-Assad regime forces.
The U.S. military says that pro-Syrian-government forces remain in a protected area near Syria's southern border with Jordan despite repeated warnings to leave.
The coalition conducted 21 strikes in the past week in support of the Iraqi security forces' efforts, hitting mortars, machine guns, multiple vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices and factories where they're made, he said. American-Iranian proxy violence in this area is not another imaginary scenario because we're witnessing that the Americans are accelerating the arming of Kurdish forces so that they will be the first to capture Raqqa and the border area with coalition air cover.
"With the auto bomb threat in mind, the government of Iraq directed civilians not to use cars or motorcycles to avoid being mistaken for militants", Dillon told Pentagon reporters during a phone call from Baghdad.
Officials also reported that five June 1 strikes near Raqqa engaged two ISIS tactical units and destroyed 17 fighting positions, an ISIS headquarters, an ISIS-held building and an IED.
He urged all states operating air forces in the Syrian civil war, including the US, UK, Russia and Syria, to distinguish between legitimate military targets and civilians as required under worldwide law.
Iraq's Iran-backed Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) on Friday crossed the border into Syria. "If Hashd forces attempt to enter our areas, our forces [SDF] will fight them", Talal Silo said, referring to the PMF. In all issues concerning the Iranians, the key is in the hand of the Russians, but also the coalition air force has in its hand the option of stopping the advancing Iranian-Syrian forces.
In effect, the USA has created a buffer-zone between the Iraqi and Syrian borders, in a move that some claim is part of Washington's effort to carve out an area of influence in southern Syria.
This demonstrates the shift in USA policy from country to country.