WASHINGTON, U.S. - U.S. officials have stated that the country’s military launched airstrikes against pro-Syrian government forces in southern Syria.
In what became the second time that the U.S. military has launched airstrikes against pro-Assad forces under the Trump administration, military officials said they targeted and destroyed vehicles that were advancing near an area of southern Syria where U.S. forces are currently deployed.
The strikes reportedly hit a regime-allied militia mixed with Syrian government forces outside a base called Tanf, near the Jordanian border where U.S. Special Forces have been deployed, along with a unit of Syrian rebels.
According to reports, the 5th Special Forces Group, that have been training pro-Western rebel groups, consisting of ‘Vetted Syrian Opposition’ to fight ISIS for six months now, also accompany the rebels in combat missions against the militants.
Meanwhile, a rebel commander quoted in a BuzzFeed report said that the Syrian regime and its allies — including Iranian forces, Shiite militia, and Hezbollah — are also based about 40 miles outside Tanf.
This, he noted, allows them easy access to Tanf via a highway that cuts through the desert.
Meanwhile, the airstrikes that are yet to be confirmed by the Pentagon, were said to have targeted the Syrian regime forces after they breached a "de-confliction zone,” a CNN report said.
The de-confliction zone around the base is the area that the coalition has communicated to the Russians to stay away from.
The report noted that the U.S.-led coalition commander, in a show of force, dispatched two U.S. aircrafts to warn off the pro-Assad forces out of the zone.
However, the airstrike was launched when the forces failed to respond.
Five of the 13 vehicles that breached the zone, came within 29 kilometers of the base at about midnight EST Thursday when the aircraft were dispatched.
In March, Trump ordered a U.S. strike of 57 Tomahawk missiles against President Assad held al-Shayrat air base in retaliation to a chemical weapons attack that was blamed on the country’s regime.
Thursday’s airstrikes meanwhile were the first instance of American air power being used against pro-Assad forces to support American troops and their rebel allies.