Syria’s state media says US-led coalition jets attacked army

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Citing a military source, Syrian state media, said US-led coalition jets hit a Syrian army position near the battle front against an ISIS pocket late Saturday, causing damage and injuries.

A spokesman for the US-led coalition, which is fighting the last ISIS pocket east of the Euphrates, said its local allies had been fired on and “exercised their right to self-defense”, adding that the incident was under investigation.

“US coalition aircraft launched an aggression this evening against one of the Syrian Arab army formations operating in the Albukamal area in the southeastern countryside of Deir al-Zor,” Syrian state news agency SANA cited the military source as saying early on Sunday.

The attack injured two soldiers and destroyed an artillery piece, the source added.

Coalition spokesman Colonel Sean Ryan said in an email: “Our partner forces were fired upon and exercised their inherent right to self-defense.”

The coalition is backing the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a collection of Syrian militias spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG.

ISIS now holds only a couple of villages in Syria, having lost almost all its territory in 2017 to two rival offensives, one by the SDF, and one by the Syrian army and allied militia backed by Russia.

The extremist group also holds an enclave of desert surrounded by the Syrian army in the center of the country.

Its territory on the Euphrates was “down to the last two villages”, Ryan said, adding that the coalition expected these to “clear soon”, and that ISIS’s remaining fighters there were mostly foreigners.

Russia and the United States maintained military communications to prevent unplanned conflict between the two forces fighting ISIS. However, some clashes have occurred.

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