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08 February 2018, 01:14 | Damon Campbell
Force F-22 Raptor fighter jet
In a statement on Wednesday, the US-led Coalition said it had conducted strikes against pro-regime forces after an "unprovoked" attack against the Syrian Democratic Forces.
"Syrian pro-regime forces included approximately 500 personnel in a large, dismounted formation supported by artillery, tanks, multiple-launch rocket systems, and mortars", a US military official said, according to Radio Free Europe.
The United States maintains about 2,000 troop in Syria, mostly working with the estimated 50,000 Syrian Democratic Forces.
Syrian government forces are active on the other side of the river around the city of Deir al-Zor.
The initial attack happened eight kilometers, or roughly five miles, east of the de-confliction line on the Euphrates River.
Neither U.S. officials nor the U.S. -backed coalition have offered details on the identity of attacking forces. The US official said that US forces in the region counterattacked using artillery and aircraft. Iranian forces are known to be deployed in the area, as are some Russians, either of whom might be labeled as "pro-Assad" by the U.S. government, but the attacking of which could have substantial ramifications.
The official said about 100 pro-government forces were killed in the counterattack. US troops were there at the time, but none of them were hurt.
U.S. Central Command reported Wednesday that pro-Syrian President Bashar al-Assad forces conducted an attack on Syrian resistance forces allied with the U.S., prompting retaliation strikes from coalition forces.
Skirmishes between the SDF and Syrian Regime Forces are not uncommon given the recent major defeats of ISIS, with the retaking of its former capital Raqqa last October, resulting in both armed group's advances connecting. One SDF member was injured.
Coalition officials were in regular contact with their Russian counterparts before, during and after the attack, who had assured them that they would not target U.S. and SDF forces in the area.
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