US-led coalition carries out third strike against Syrian government forces

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US-led coalition steps up airstrikes in Syria and Iraq. File photo: AFP

ARA News

A U.S. aircraft shot down an armed pro-Syrian regime Unmanned Aerial Vehicle after it fired on Coalition forces in Tanf, in Southern Syria on 8 June.

The US-led coalition said the strike was conducted to protect Syrian rebels and coalition forces against the Syrian government.

“The pro-regime UAV, similar in size to a U.S. MQ-1 Predator, was shot down by a U.S. aircraft after it dropped one of several weapons it was carrying near a position occupied by Coalition personnel who are training and advising partner ground forces in the fight against ISIS,” the coalition said.

This is not the first time the US-led coalition carries out air strikes against pro-Syrian government forces.

“The shoot down follows an earlier engagement in the day in which Coalition forces destroyed two pro-regime armed technical vehicles that advanced toward Coalition forces at At-Tanf inside the established de-confliction zone threatening Coalition and partner forces,” the coalition said in a statement on Thursday.

Also, On May 18, the US-led coalition conducted a strike against pro-Syrian regime forces that had advanced a significant distance into the de-confliction zone, threatening the Coalition forces at At-Tanf base.

The coalition said that their only mission is to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and not the Syrian government.

“The Coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime, Russian or pro-regime forces partnered with them. The demonstrated hostile intent and actions of pro-regime forces near Coalition and partner forces in southern Syria, however, continue to concern us and the Coalition will take appropriate measures to protect our forces,” the coalition said.

The US-led coalition justified its presence in Syria “due to the imminent threat ISIS poses globally, which is beyond the capability of the Syrian Regime to address”.

Coalition forces have been located at At Tanf for more than a year. The garrison is a temporary Coalition location to train vetted Syrian opposition forces to defeat ISIS. The coalition said it will not be vacated until ISIS is defeated.

“As long as pro-regime forces are oriented toward Coalition and partnered forces the potential for conflict is escalated.  Coalition forces are oriented on ISIS in the Euphrates River Valley. The Coalition calls on all parties to focus their efforts in the same direction to defeat ISIS, which is our common enemy and the greatest threat to regional and worldwide peace and security,” the coalition concluded.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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