Syrian army, allies in southeast Syria reach Iraqi border - pro-Assad commander

"The first units of the army and its allies arrived to the Syrian-Iraqi border northeast of al-Tanf", said the non-Syrian commander in a military alliance fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad.

The two forces have clashed regularly in the area, with USA aircraft twice striking Russian-backed forces the Pentagon said were threatening its local allies.

"The Syrian Armed Forces managed to seize a number of strategically important heights and communications in this area, having deprived militant groups of an opportunity to send reinforcements and cargoes to the southern part of the country without obstacles", Surovikin said.

The charges, made Friday by the commander of Russia's forces in Syria, Colonel General Sergey Surovkin, contradict Pentagon claims that US special operators, Kurdish fighters and allied Syrian Democratic Forces intend to engage in fierce door-to-door urban warfare.

Forces from the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq are using a garrison in At-Tanaf to stage attacks against the jihadists and train Syrian rebels to fight them.

Earlier this week the USA bombed similar forces inside the protected zone, after they came under attack by another unaffiliated group of Syrian rebels.

The At-Tanaf area has been the scene of repeated incidents between US-led forces and pro-government troops, including on Thursday when a United States warplane shot down a pro-government drone near the area.

Syria's government has been eager to reach the eastern border after recapturing territory in central Homs province once held by IS. "Accepting those de-escalation zones meant the regime and its allies were able to relax and move resources", said Abu Waleed, a commander with the US -backed rebel group Usoud al-Sharqiya. Iran's allies are already bringing pressure to bear on the Kurds to coöperate: In recent days, the Kurds have said that Russian Federation threatened them with an attack by Turkish forces.

The Tanf base lies in the Syrian Badia, a vast sparsely populated desert territory that stretches to the Jordanian and Iraqi borders. Dillon added that the USA military has communicated its concern to the Syrian forces through the Russian deconfliction line but had not yet given them an ultimatum. In photographs circulating on social media, a US flag fluttered in the wind as fighters manned truck-mounted weapons.

He also also said he hoped to strengthen security ties between France and Iran and that the two countries should join forces to fight terrorism.

Shamkhani said that military and defensive cooperation between Tehran and Moscow are based on common interests.

Iran also launched an anti-IS messaging campaign, sought to contain the conflict with IS inside Syria and Iraq to stop it reaching Iranian borders, engaged with various political and religious groups, and carried out extensive intelligence operations. "They don't seem to be sure of what they want to do".

  • Leroy Wright