Syrian troops killed in air strike, US says it’s not to blame

Syrian troops killed in air strike, US says it’s not to blame

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Coalition military forces conduct an air strike on an ISIS headquarters near Abu Kamal, Syria, in April (Photo: Defense Media Archive)

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said Monday that no U.S. forces or members of the anti-ISIS coalition conducted a weekend air attack on pro-government elements near the ISIS stronghold of Albu Kamal, despite reports blaming the coalition.

“Neither the U.S. nor the Coalition carried out strikes in vicinity of Al Bukamal (Abu Kamal),” Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway told TMN on Monday. Asked who then could have made the strikes, he said, “I can’t discuss intelligence matters.”

According to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the airstrike killed about 40 fighters near the town of al-Harra, southeast of Albu Kamal. Albu Kamal borders with Iraq and Jordan and is one of the last redoubts of ISIS in Syria.

Among their several locations in Syria, U.S. forces are stationed in Tanf, southwest of Albu Kamal.

Al-Harra is on the western side of the Euphrates River. U.S. and coalition forces operate on the eastern side of the river. The area of the attack is in what is called the “deconfliction zone,” an informal buffer area designed to minimize the chance that U.S. and Russian troops, the latter who assist Syrian government forces, do not engaged militarily.

Syrian state television reported the anti-ISIS coalition did the attack, which included drones, according to new reports.

U.S. and coalition forces carried out 134 airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq between June 1 and June 10, U.S. Central Command reported Friday.

Meanwhile, the largest member of the anti-ISIS coalition said it captured the other remaining ISIS stronghold in Syria over the weekend.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said Sunday that they had taken Dashishah in northeastern Syria. Dashishah is a key border crossing point into Iraq.

U.S. and coalition forces are engaged in Operation Roundup to rid Syria of the remaining ISIS elements.

“For the first time in four years, Dashisha, a notorious transit town for weapons, fighters, and suicide bombers between Iraq and Syria, is no longer controlled by ISIS terrorists,” Brett McGurk, President Donald Trump’s special envoy for the war against ISIS, told AFP on Monday.

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