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IS Fighters Attack Government-held Areas in Central Syria

IS Fighters Attack Government-held Areas in Central Syriaā€¯

US forces have for the first time bombed a convoy of Syrian government and Iranian-backed militia forces after Russian Federation was unable to keep them from entering an area where USA allies have been preparing to battle the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, the Pentagon says.

The airstrikes, in the southern town of Tanf, mark the first time that the USA military deliberately hit the regime out of a perceived threat for American troops, which have steadily increased in numbers in recent months throughout Syria.

The airstrikes took place Thursday and hit a tank and possibly other targets in southern Syria that appeared to be an advancing Shia militant group that the coalition deemed a threat to its allies on the ground, according to the defense official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Still, the strike will likely reignite debate about USA involvement in the Syrian civil war that had raged after President Trump ordered a cruise missile strike against a regime airfield last month. It wasn't clear if USA forces were there.

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In a four-sentence statement, the coalition added that the pro-regime forces were "well inside" an "established" zone.

A deadly combination of human error, bad intelligence and an increasingly complicated battlefield led to the mistaken bombing of Syrian government troops by American and coalition aircraft in September.

Meanwhile, in another development in the ongoing Syrian Civil War, ISIS forces committed atrocities against military servicemen and civilians in the Hama province in Central Syria.

The development comes only a few days after USA jets killed almost two dozen civilians in an attack on an area in Syria's eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr near the border with Iraq.

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At least 15 civilians were among 52 people also killed in fighting in the central province of Hama Thursday, following a major offensive by Islamic State, according to the Observatory, which relies on a network of activists inside war-torn Syria. Both forces have said they are trying to push Islamic State fighters out of the area.

A statement from Centcom, the United States military command in the Middle East, said two strikes "destroyed two front-end loaders, a piece of construction equipment, a tactical vehicle and a tank".

Iranian troops are said to be commanding the pro-Assad forces and a number of Lebanese Hezbollah fighters.

"It (Thursday's strike) is utterly unacceptable and a violation of Syria's sovereignty".

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The zone was set up around al-Tanf, an army base where forces are training Syrian militias, CBS News reports. The United States in April infuriated the Kremlin by bombing a Syrian regime air base in response to an alleged chemical attack by Damascus.



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