The U.S-led coalition to defeat the Islamic State conducted strikes against pro-Syrian regime forces in response to an “unprovoked attack” against a coalition base on Wednesday, U.S. defense officials said.
The attack by fighters loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad targeted a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) headquarters located in the Middle Euphrates River Valley, according to a statement from U.S. Central Command. American troops in an “advise, assist, and accompany” capacity were embedded with the SDF at the time of the attack.
“In defense of Coalition and partner forces, the Coalition conducted strikes against attacking forces to repel the act of aggression against partners engaged in the Global Coalition’s defeat-Daesh mission,” CENTCOM said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.
The coalition did not say which group carried out the attack on the SDF base or confirm if U.S. troops were involved in the retaliatory strike. However, U.S. aircraft were reportedly involved in the counter-strike, reports Reuters, citing U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity. None of the embedded U.S. troops appeared to have been killed or wounded in the attack, the officials said.
The Syrian army is supported by Iranian-backed militia and Russian air and ground forces. The SDF, which is made up of largely of Kurdish militia, is the U.S. military’s primary partner in the fight against ISIS in Syria.
Syrian forces and the U.S.-led coalition have mounted separate campaigns against ISIS throughout Syria’s ongoing civil war. But as ISIS has been nearly dismantled, both sides are operating in close proximity.
The coalition said Wednesday it is focused on defeating ISIS but retains a “non-negotiable” right to act in self-defense.
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