U.S. airstrikes in Deir Ezzor kills several Syrian troops

12 February, 2018, 01:37 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Syrian civil defence volunteers attempting to put out a fire in the city of Maaret al-Numan

"We would like to see a ceasefire, the end of war in Syria, but the terrorists, I'm not sure they are in agreement".

Tillerson made clear that the USA thinks the UN-led process aimed at ending the Syrian civil war will remove Assad from power."The United States believes that free and transparent elections, to include the participation of the Syrian diaspora who have been displaced - all those who were forced to flee the conflict - will result in the permanent departure of Assad and his family from power", Tillerson said.But while ISIS has lost over 98% of its territory in Syria numerous other objectives outlined by Tillerson are still fraught with difficulty. But Trump administration critics disagreed.

Western powers have expressed alarm over the government's bombing campaign in rebel-held Eastern Ghouta, where 400,000 people have been living under siege since 2013. America also has 2,000 soldiers on the ground in Syria with the SDF.

Mattis rejected Kaine's suggestion the United States is being drawn into a broader war.

Meanwhile, Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency said Turkish jets on Thursday targeted parts of Afrin, including Mount Bafilun, the villages of Sheik Huruz and Kefer Jenne and the regions of Sheran, Jinderes and Raju, the AP reported.

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US Marines firing a howitzer in Syria.

"We suspect Syrian pro-regime forces were attempting to seize terrain SDF had liberated from Daesh in September 2017", an official said.

Separately, the US -led air and artillery strikes began overnight Wednesday in Deir al-Zour province.

This is essentially the Islamic State's last stand in Syria, having ceded most of its Syrian and Iraqi territory over the past couple of years. One SDF member was wounded. It also lowers (in only a very small way) the likelihood of a confrontation with the USA if these forces come into contact. Whatever group wins out - the government, rebels or extremists such as IS - would be far less equipped than the U.S. to maintain stability, the American argument goes. By crossing the river, the fighters would have violated a "deconfliction" agreement between Washington and Moscow, approaching US-backed forces based near an oil field.

Commenting on what happened in Deir Ezzor, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis described the attack on the US-backed fighters as "perplexing". "ISIL is still there, and our mission is still to defeat ISIL", Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said Thursday.

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Reuters reported that regime forces were likely trying to take an oilfield near Khusham, citing a usa official. "That's what those troops were doing - coordinating strikes against ISIS", Mr. Mattis said. No Americans were hurt.

An armoured fighting vehicle of the Syrian Democratic Forces manoeuvres at the frontline in Raqqa.

Russia's Foreign Ministry raised pointed questions about the USA version of events, particularly the vast disparity between the claim of 100 Syrian government troops killed and, on the other side, a total of one SDF fighter wounded.

This time around, the USA military said that it was exercising its "inherent right of self-defense" in attacking the forces of a government whose territory American troops are occupying without either its consent or any mandate from the United Nations.

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