A US Navy EA-6B lands on USS George H.W. Bush following air raids on Islamic State targets in eastern Syria, September 23, 2014
The US-led coalition has reportedly struck Assad regime forces in eastern Syria, causing injuries and damage.
Regime media, citing a military source, said warplanes hit an army position late Saturday. They said the attack was close to where US-supported, Kurdish-led forces are trying to remove the last Islamic State pocket, near the Iraqi border:
US coalition aircraft launched an aggression this evening against one of the Syrian Arab army formations operating in the Albukamal area in the southeastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor [Province].
The military official said two troops were injured and an artillery piece destroyed.
Coalition spokesman Col. Sean Ryan wrote in an e-mail that the Syrian Democratic Forces were fired on: “Our partner forces were fired upon and exercised their inherent right to self-defense.”
Ryan said the incident is under investigation.
The SDF, created by the US in autumn 2015 and led by the Kurdish militia YPG, has reduced the Islamic State to a small area in the Hajin pocket in eastern Syria.
Ryan said the ISIS territory was “down to the last two villages” and that the coalition expected to “clear soon” the area.
Russia and the US maintain military communications to prevent conflict in eastern Syria. However, in October 2016 US warplanes killed more than 80 regime troops in airstrikes in Deir ez-Zor Province. The coalition said the incident was a targeting error as the SDF fought ISIS units in the area. The Assad regime maintains that the attacks were deliberate.
In April 2017, US missiles struck a regime airbase which had launched a sarin attack, killing about 90 people and injuring hundreds, on an opposition-held town in northwest Syria. A year later, the US, Britain, and France hit three facilities connected with the regime’s chemical weapons program, after the regime’s chlorine attacks to force the surrender of an opposition region near Damascus.