US Defense Official Admits Airstrike Against Syrian Govt Forces Occurred In ‘Deconfliction Zone’

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A US defense official told Sputnik that the US-led coalition struck the Syrian army near the town of At Tanf in the area of an established deconfliction zone with Russia.

(Sputnik) Earlier in the day, BuzzFeed News reported that a US-led coalition spokesperson has confirmed that coalition strikes in southern Syria struck Syrian government armed forces.

The coalition strikes reportedly occurred near At Tanf town, where US’ and British special operations forces have been training Syrian rebel fighters near the border with Iraq and Jordan.

“The strike did happen. It was against a pro-regime force operating in the vicinity of At Tanf. This regime force was operating within a well-established de-confliction zone,” the defense official told Sputnik.

The US defense official added that the US coalition commander considered the Syrian army as a threat to coalition troops.

“The commander on the ground perceived this force to be a threat to coalition forces,” the defense official said.

It is unclear yet whether the strikes have killed any Syrian soldiers or pro-government militia fighters as there has been no official comment from Damascus so far.

The US-led coalition said that the agreement on a de-confliction zone with Russia remains in effect despite the strike on Syrian army.

The United States and Russia signed the bilateral memorandum of understanding in October 2015 to ensure their flight safety during combat missions over Syria.

On Monday, Al-Masdr News reported that Syrian Arab Army soldiers along and militias affiliated with the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units are preparing to recapture the nearby Tanf Border crossing from Daesh.

Media reports suggested that Syrian rebels have voiced concerns over the Syrian army getting “too close” to the US Special Forces’ base in At Tanf.

In April, Daesh terrorists attempted to take the US base near At Tanf in which three US-backed Syrian rebels were killed.

This was not the first time the US-led coalition intentionally or accidentally struck the Syrian army fighting against Daesh. In the early hours of April 7, the United States launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian military airfield in Ash Sha’irat, located about 40 kilometers from the city of Homs. Moreover, on September 17, 2016, US-led coalition aircraft carried out four strikes against the Syrian army near the Deir ez-Zor airport, killing 62 soldiers and wounding some 100.

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