US-led strikes kill 100 pro-regime personnel in Syria
The US-led coalition carried out strikes in “self-defense” against forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, leaving an estimated more than 100 pro-regime personnel dead, the U.S. military said Feb. 7.
The strikes were to counter an “unprovoked attack against well-established Syrian Democratic Forces headquarters,” the U.S. Central Command said, referring to the coalition’s Syrian Kurdish allies.
“We estimate more than 100 Syrian pro-regime forces were killed while engaging SDF and coalition forces,” while one SDF member was wounded, a U.S. military official said.According to CENTCOM, “coalition service members in an advise, assist, and accompany capacity were co-located with SDF partners during the attack.”
“The coalition conducted strikes against attacking forces to repel the act of aggression,” it said.The U.S. military official said the attack -- which began on Feb. 7 -- involved some 500 personnel from “pro-regime” forces armed with tanks, artillery and mortars.The SDF and the coalition targeted the attacking forces with air and artillery strikes after “20 to 30 artillery and tank rounds landed within 500 meters of the SDF headquarters location,” the official said.
The official did not specifically identify the attacking forces, which could have been Syrian or from one of a number of allied militia units, including from Iraq and Lebanon, that are backing Assad in the country’s seven-year civil war.
Russia is carrying out strikes in support of Assad, who has received substantial support from Iran as well.
CENTCOM said the attack occurred eight kilometers east of the “Euphrates River de-confliction line,” referring to a boundary agreed to by Russia and the U.S., with the former’s area of operations to the west of the river and the latter’s to its east.
“Coalition officials were in regular communication with Russian counterparts before, during and after the thwarted” attack, the U.S. military official said, adding that “Russian officials assured coalition officials they would not engage coalition forces in the vicinity.”
The main component of the SDF, known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG), is the target of a military operation in northern Syria by Turkey, which considers the YPG a terrorist group.