US Marines deploy in while conducting a resupply mission convoy at an undisclosed location in Iraq. File photo: US Marine Corps | Capt. Christian Lopez
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Around a base near the
Syria-Iran-Jordan border, the US-led international coalition conducted a show
of force on Friday amid repeated reported violations of a Russian-US
de-confliction zone in southeast Syria.
"The exercise involved an aerial assault by a
company-sized dismounted element..." read a statement released by US
Central Command (CENTCOM) on Friday.
The coalition maintains a garrison in Syria's At Tanf near
the tri-country border, where it trains local tribal members of Maghawir
al-Thawra (MaT) for the fight against ISIS.
“Our forces will demonstrate the capability to deploy
rapidly, assault a target with integrated air and ground forces, and conduct a
rapid exfiltration anywhere in the OIR combined joint operations area,” stated
US Navy Capt. Bill Urban, the spokesman for CENTCOM.
The United States and Russia — the Assad regime's primary
backer — agreed to a roughly 55 kilometer de-confliction zone around the
coalition's At Tanf garrison in 2017. Both have said they have a hotline to avoid direct conflict. The area is called al-Waleed in Iraq.
Coalition war planes struck advancing pro-Syrian forces in May 2017 and
destroyed a drone this summer.
Most recently, the coalition told Rudaw English regarding
reported strikes on Iranian forces in the area on September 3, "sometimes there are
delays on strikes being reported." The coalition now releases strike reports
on a weekly basis and is yet to release this week's. Often strikes remain “open”
and can take weeks to close.
“The Coalition continues to train MaT forces in At Tanf in
order to achieve our shared goal of defeating ISIS, and the MaT continues to
interrupt movement of ISIS personnel and equipment through Al Tanf, proving
that they are capable of securing the area,” added the coalition.
Moscow has warned the United States twice this week that Russia and Syrian regime forces are prepared to attack in an area where US troops are
located, CNN reported on Friday, citing several unnamed US defense officials.
“Exercises like this bolster our defeat-ISIS capabilities
and ensure we are ready to respond to any threat to our forces," added the