'40 pro-Assad Fighters Killed' in U.S.-led Strike on Syrian Military Post

Pro-Assad commander says U.S. drone also struck Iraqi factions ■ Pentagon denies involvement

Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus, June 10, 2018.
/אי־פי

Syrian state TV is reporting that the U.S.-led coalition has struck a military position in the country's east, leaving several troops dead and wounded. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that 40 pro-Assad regime fighters were killed in the strike.

The strike took place in al-Harra, southeast of Albu Kamal, Syrian state media said, though official reports did not confirm the death toll.

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A commander in the military alliance backing Syrian President Bashar Assad also told Reuters that drones, “probably American,” had bombed positions of Iraqi factions between Albu Kamal and Tanf and Syrian military positions.

“No member of the U.S.-led coalition carried out strikes near Albu Kamal,” Major Josh Jacques, a U.S. Central Command spokesman, told Reuters.

The U.S.-led coalition is supporting an alliance of Syrian Arab and Kurdish militia fighting Islamic State northeast of Albu Kamal.

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The Syrian army, alongside allied Iran-backed militias including Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Iraqi groups, drove Islamic State from Albu Kamal and its environs last year, but the jihadists have since staged attacks in the area.

U.S. forces are also based in Tanf, southwest of Albu Kamal in the Syrian desert near the borders of Iraq and Jordan.

Last week, Assad said he regarded the United States as an occupying power in Syria and that the position of his state was to “support any act of resistance, whether against terrorists or against occupying forces, regardless of their nationality.”