More than 100 Assad forces killed in US-backed attack

More than 100 Assad forces killed in US-backed attack

More than 100 Assad forces killed in US-backed attack

When Syrian pro-regime forces attacked Syrian Democratic Forces yesterday, they moved in a battalion-sized unit formation supported by artillery, tanks, multiple-launch rocket systems and mortars, chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana W. White told reporters today.

The motive for the attack remains a mystery, Mattis said, as is the makeup of the attackers.

The SDF and the coalition targeted the attacking forces with air strikes and shelling after "20 to 30 artillery and tank rounds landed within 500 metres (yards) of the SDF headquarters location", a USA official said.

On Wednesday, the top US commander in Syria and Iraq, Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, visited Manbij, the Syrian city on the western side of the Euphrates that has been occupied by the YPG and its US Special Forces handlers.

"Coalition service members in an advise, assist, and accompany capacity were co-located with SDF partners during the attack eight kilometers east of the agreed-upon Euphrates River de-confliction line", the statement read. "Pro-regime vehicles and personnel that were turned around and headed back west were not targeted".

The pro-government forces were "likely seeking to seize oilfields in Khusham" east of the Euphrates in Deir al-Zor province, a United States official said. The head of the Britain-based monitoring group, Rami Abdel Rahman, said the aim of the attack appeared to be the capture of a key oil field and a major gas plant in an SDF-held area.

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CNN also reported that HIMARS and MQ-9 drones were used in the attack.

A large-scale attack by over 500 Syrian troops aligned with Bashar al-Assad on a base used by USA troops and local United States allies underscored the challenges faced by the Trump administration as it seeks to implement its long-term strategy for Syria, with both the Russian-backed regime and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey recently conducting or threating attacks against America's primary ally in Syria.

The United Nations Security Council is considering demanding a 30-day ceasefire in Syria to allow the delivery of aid and the evacuation of sick and wounded, diplomats said on Friday, although the measure is likely to be resisted by Russian Federation. "Our forces have the inherent right to self-defense", she said.

To the west, the Turkish invasion of the Kurdish-controlled enclave of Afrin, which came in response to USA plans to organize a 30,000-strong "border security force" based largely on the Kurdish YPG and create what Ankara sees as a de facto Kurdish state on its border, threatens to escalate into a direct conflict between the U.S. and Turkey, ostensible North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

Moscow has reminded Washington that its presence in Syria is illegal after the US-led coalition struck pro-government popular forces. Mattis has previously said that United States forces would help support U.S. diplomats working to resolve the conflict. "Our goal is to ensure that our diplomats can negotiate from a position of strength, with respect to the Geneva process".

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