USA not looking for conflict with Syria's forces, Pentagon says


USA not looking for conflict with Syria's forces, Pentagon says

Syria's Deir Ezzor hosts a patchwork of rival forces and their worldwide partners, from Russian-backed government troops and US-backed forces to Shiite militias and jihadists. When the advancing forces unleashed a volley of 20-30 tank and artillery rounds toward the base, USA warplanes attacked, he said.

"We're now protecting a territory the size of IN and deepening our commitment to the S.D.F., with no sense of where this is going, no sense of strategy, no sense of endgame", said Mr. Miller, who was a State Department official IN Republican and Democratic administrations.

Russian Federation on Thursday said the U.S. goal in Syria was not to fight IS, but to capture the country's economic assets. "Plans for the actual partition of Syria do exist, and we are aware of that".

The flare-up lasted into the small hours of Thursday and was sparked by an attack on positions held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Deir Ezzor province.

"Let's be realistic", he said. "This is an attack on the political project we are trying to establish in Syria".

Veale said that about "20 to 30 artillery and tank rounds landed within 500 meters" of the Syrian Democratic Forces headquarters before the US-backed fighters and coalition forces "targeted the aggressors with a combination of air and artillery strikes". Russian Federation said the proposal was a non-starter.

Syrian state media characterized the event differently, saying the USA had bombed "popular local forces fighting" ISIS, and that it was a U.S. "attempt to support terrorism".

"The Americans have managed through their diplomatic strategy to isolate themselves to the point where Turkey, Iran and Syria all agree that what the doing in Syria is bad", he said.

Shortly after Tillerson's speech and an announcement by the U.S. military that it meant to work with the Syrian Democratic Forces to establish a border security force in order to secure areas liberated from ISIS, Turkey launched a major military operation targeting Kurdish groups in Afrin, Syria.

Russian Federation and Syria both issued official statements immediately after the encounter accusing the United States of being in the nation illegally, and claiming the USA military action was taken in support of terrorists.

Zamir Kabulov, the Kremlin's envoy for Afghanistan and the former Russian ambassador in Kabul, made the claim in an interview Thursday with state news agency Tass.

No American troops were killed or wounded in the incident, officials said.

The Observatory said 211 people have been killed in eastern Ghouta since Monday.

The official state news agency SANA said the local fighters were battling IS militants and the USA -backed SDF in the area.

It said the assault reflects the "dirty US intentions against Syria's sovereignty and territorial unity".

The Russian military is investigating where the missile had come from and has warned that such missiles could threaten civilian aircraft.

She stressed that the coalition strikes were purely defensive and that Washington is not seeking to fight Syrian government forces.

This photo provided by the Syrian Civil Defence group known as the White Helmets, shows civil defence workers searching for survivors after airstrikes hit a rebel-held suburb near Damascus, Syria, Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. It also continues to supply the SDF with weapons. The region has been battered in an escalatory government bombing campaign.

According to a coalition statement, its strikes were carried out after forces allied with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "initiated an unprovoked attack" against a well-established Syrian Democratic Forces headquarters where coalition advisers were working with US-backed Syrian fighters.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday the USA strike wounded 25 pro-government Syrian volunteers.

It is still unclear if Russian and American forces, which coordinate on military issues in Syria, were in contact before and during the clashes and air raids.

Analysts say tension may rise among different forces in Syria over territories retaken from the Islamic State group.

Activists have recorded at least 169 killed since Monday in eastern Ghouta.

With no sign of such a peace deal in sight, the USA military is now committed to a potentially indefinite presence in Syria that is opposed by all of the region's powers.

The Syrian government and its ally Iran have repeatedly called for USA troops to leave Syria now that the fight against the Islamic State is almost over, and they have regularly threatened to wage war to push the Americans out if they do not leave.

Neither U.S. officials nor the U.S. -backed coalition have offered details on the identity of attacking forces.

SANA called it an "aggression".

One SDF fighter was injured, Reuters reported.

Turkish officials say the leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran will meet in Istanbul to discuss peace efforts for Syria.

It was not immediately clear when the Istanbul meeting would take place.

US officials insist they do not intend to become any more deeply involved in the Syrian conflict. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.



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