More than 100 pro-Assad forces killed in thwarted attack

Katrina Barker
February 8, 2018

US officials said it was not immediately clear whether the attacking forces were part of the the Syrian military or belonged to foreign militias or other units who fight in support of the government. The official spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

Syrian state television said on Thursday the USA -led coalition against Islamic State had bombed pro-Syrian government forces east of the Euphrates river in Deir al-Zor province in eastern Syria, causing casualties.

Syrian government forces are active on the other side of the river around the city of Deir al-Zor. Last year, USA aircraft shot down a Syrian jet after pro-government forces attacked US allied units in northern Syria.

The incident marks one of a limited number of times in which the United States has struck out directly at forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

One Syrian rebel soldier was wounded but no US forces were killed or wounded, according to NPR's Tom Bowman, who is reporting from elsewhere in Syria.

The forces were "likely seeking to seize oilfields in Khusham that had been a major source of revenue for Daesh from 2014 to 2017".

The U.S. -backed Syrian Democratic Forces, aided by coalition support, are battling Islamic State militants east of the Euphrates River.

A USA official told CNN that the attackers crossed the Euphrates armed with artillery and other weapons.

Officials believe the attack was an attempt by pro-regime forces to take back land the SDF had liberated from IS fighters in September, including oil fields in Khusham. The state Al-Ikhbariyah TV said there were reports that dozens were killed.

The operation was launched after "20 to 30 artillery and tank rounds landed within 500 meters of the SDF headquarters location".

According to the US Central Command, coalition advisers were also present at the site of the attack late on Tuesday.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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