U.S. airstrike kills 100 Syrian troops after 'unprovoked' assault on base

Destruction in Syria

Almost 500 Syrian pro-government fighters supported by tanks, artillery and mortars attacked the UDF headquarters, where there were U.S. military advisors.

No uniformed Russian soldiers were killed in the US -coalition strike on Deir Ezzor, Russia's Defense Ministry said in a statement cited by Interfax on Thursday.

The combination of air and artillery strikes came after pro-regime troops attacked the compound of the Syrian Democratic Forces.

Washington has deployed 2,000 soldiers in Syria, mainly special forces, who support the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an Arab-Kurdish coalition fighting the IS. About 100 of the attackers were killed, the official said.

"Coalition officials were in regular communication with Russian counterparts before, during and after the thwarted (pro-regime forces) attack", Veale said.

No US forces and one SDF fighter reportedly died in the operation.

The forces were "likely seeking to seize oilfields in Khusham that had been a major source of revenue for [IS] from 2014 to 2017, the official said".

"We are not looking for a conflict with the regime", she added. The SDF is confronting them east of the Euphrates, while pro-government forces hold areas around Deir al-Zour city on the western bank. This came after militants in adjacent Idlib province downed a Russian fighter jet and killed the pilot on February 3, the AP said, citing unconfirmed Turkish media reports.

"The military goal is to defeat ISIS in Syria", White said.

Overnight on Thursday, the US-coalition coalition attacked Syrian pro-government armed groups who were on a reconnaissance and a search mission near the former Al-Isba oil refinery.

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Before the US counter-attack began, American military officials called their Russian counterparts on a pre-established hotline to voice concern about the build-up.

A military official, who provided information about the attack on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss it on the record, said the attacking forces initiated the assault by lobbing artillery at the SDF and USA forces, who were located eight miles east of the Euphrates River.

The pro-Assad forces were supported by artillery, tanks, and rockets in an attack that began late Tuesday and lasted into Wednesday morning local time.

She said that Americans were in contact with Russians even after the attack.

The Russian defense ministry, which provides backing and support to president al-Assad, said this has shown that the USA interest in the region is to "seize and hold the Syrian economic assets and not to fight the Islamic State grop".

"As a result of the shelling, 25 Syrian militias were injured", the statement said.

The U.S. says Russian Federation must use its influence over Assad's forces to ensure Syria immediately allows United Nations aid to reach vulnerable civilians.

The Syrian Democratic Forces have been a crucial American ally in the fight against ISIS.

US Marines firing a howitzer in Syria.

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