CNN goes on patrol with United States soldiers in Syria

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US -led coalition forces are looking into whether Russian contractors were involved in an attack against Syrian Democratic Forces on Wednesday.

Artillery and tank rounds were used by pro-Bashar Assad soldiers against the US-backed Syria Democratic Forces on Wednesday.

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jamie Jarrord (left) thanks Manbij Military Council commander Muhammed Abu Adeel during a visit to a small outpost near the town of Manbij in northern Syria on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. However, according to one official, it is believed that Russian contractors may have been involved in the initial assault.

A U.S. official told CNN that the attackers crossed the Euphrates River and were armed with artillery and other weapons.

The attack occurred eight kilometers east of the "agreed-upon Euphrates River de-confliction line".

US officials say about 500 pro-Assad regime forces participated in the attack on the coalition location, using heavy artillery, T-54 and T-72 main battle tanks and mortar fire.

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Some U.S. troops had been embedded at the time with Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), whose headquarters in Syria's Deir al-Zor province had been a target of the attack.

"The coalition conducted strikes against attacking forces to repeal the act of aggression", it said.

US-led coalition forces, who typically advise and assist SDF troops, conducted airstrikes against the Syrian forces who attacked their "well established" headquarters.

The Euphrates River, flowing through Northeastern Syria, serves as a demarcation line between the US backed SDF and Russian Federation and Iran backed pro regime forces believed to be active around the city of Deir el-Zour. USA troops were there at the time, but none of them were hurt.

The official said it appeared the pro-government forces were trying to reassert government control of areas that the SDF troops had seized from the Islamic State past year, and possibly to capture oilfields in the area. One SDF member was injured. They spoke on condition of anonymity as details were still emerging on the attack.

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