Syrian Pro-Regime Forces Attack Prompts Coalition Defensive Strikes

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Over 100 soldiers of the pro-governmental forces of Syria have been killed from US-led coalition airstrikes, ABC reports.

In a statement, the US -led military coalition tasked with battling the Islamic State called the attack southeast of the city of Deir Ezzour in eastern Syria "unprovoked".

The U.S. coalition said in a statement that it launched the strikes in self-defense after as many as 500 attackers began what appeared to be a coordinated assault on an SDF headquarters, where the Turkish forces are accompanied by U.S. troops. Last year, USA aircraft shot down a Syrian jet after pro-government forces attacked US allied units in northern Syria.

In a, the Pentagon said, "Syrian pro-regime forces initiated an unprovoked attack against well-established Syrian Democratic Forces headquarters today". Syrian government forces are active on the other side of the river around the city of Deir el-Zour.

The SDF are led mainly by a Syrian Kurdish militia, known as the People's Protection Units or YPG, whose presence has caused increased tension between the USA and Turkey, which considers the YPG to be "terrorists".

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US and Kurdish forces responded to that skirmish with air and artillery strikes, the official said.

After the attack the coalition "conducted strikes against attacking forces to repel the act of aggression".

Officials said no USA troops were injured or killed.

With the defeat of Islamic State in most of Syria the coalition and the Syrian regime share a long "de-confliction" line mostly along the Euphrates river. A coalition official told Reuters that the attacking forces were "likely seeking to seize oil fields in Khsham that had been a major source of revenue for Daesh [ISIS] from 2014-2017". One SDF member was injured. "It's not always readily apparent" what sort of forces they are maneuvering on the ground in Syria's crowded battlespace, he said.

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