A Syrian Army BMP-1 on a Mercedes tank transporter in Deir ez-Zor. Photo: Bassem Tellawi | AP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A Syrian military official confirmed that a US air strike in the area of al-Tanf this week killed a number of people, according state-run news.
SANA, Syria’s state-run news agency, reported that the unnamed Syrian military official said the “blatant” attack left a number of people dead, in addition to causing material damage.
"The Coalition struck Syrian pro-regime forces advancing in a deconfliction zone near At Tanf posing a threat to US partner forces," the US-led Coalition wrote in a tweet. "This was despite Russian attempts to dissuade pro-regime movement towards At Tanf, Coalition aircraft's show of force and warning shots."
The US has been backing the Maghawir and Jaysh al-Thawra fighters in the near the Syria, Jordan, Iraq border. The area is called al-Waleed in Iraq. The US maintains a garrison in the area that is used to train fighters.
The strike would just be the second strike against Syrian-regime loyal forces by the US in the six-year-long civil war. Iran and Russia have been President Bashar al-Assad’s primary backers. The two countries, in addition to Turkey, planned to implement de-escalation zones after their May 2 meeting in Astana, although the enforcement mechanism remains unclear.
The SANA source added that “those who claim to be fighting [ISIS and al-Qaeda] should direct strikes against them and not against the Syrian Arab Army, which is the only legitimate force that is fighting terrorism along with its allies and friends.”
Reuters reported Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov as saying the US strike had violated Syria's sovereignty and would not help efforts to find a political solution to the conflict.
US Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters on Friday that US President Donald Trump has authorized commanders in the field to conduct some strikes without direct Pentagon approval, a shift from the previous administration.