Led Coalition Airstrikes Kill Over 100 Syrian Soldiers

American troops look out toward the border with Turkey from a small outpost near the town of Manbij northern Syria Wednesday Feb. 7 2018

More than 100 fighters aligned with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were killed when USA coalition and coalition-backed local forces repelled their attack in eastern Syria. A number of United States military advisers were present alongside local allied forces, and the Americans led a punishing response that other officials said killed about 100 of the assailants.

About 2000 USA forces remain on the ground in Syria, allied to the Kurdish-led SDF alliance.

The Syrian military airstrikes began in eastern Ghouta, outside of Damascus, on Monday.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said earlier on Thursday, that US-led coalition struck pro-Syrian government forces in the eastern Syrian province of Deir al-Zour on Wednesday.

"I'm not sure why [regime forces] would do this, because it was [an SDF] headquarters", Mattis said, adding that the Russians told the USA military they did not have forces there.

According to several sources, the recent air and artillery attack by the International Coalition forces in Deir Ezzor against the pro-government popular militias killed more than 100 people.

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According to Igor Girkin, an ex-commander of Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, two tactical units of the Wagner private military group had been hit by the USA strikes on February 7.

Mattis said Thursday the goal is to create conditions for a UN-led political resolution, though there are no indications one could be achieved anytime soon. Russian contract soldiers were killed in the attack.

No U.S. military members were injured in the clash. The two warring factions have for the past year collided on multiple occasions in efforts to drive the Islamic state fighters popularly known as ISIS from their last stronghold in Syria.

Whatever the precise number of casualties-the Pentagon's figures are suspect given that the bombings and artillery barrages were not followed up by any ground attack-the incident marks a major escalation of USA aggression against Syria, eclipsing the firing of 59 U.S. cruise missiles last April in response to an unsubstantiated allegation of a chemical weapons attack in Idlib province.

USA warplanes and artillery batteries carried out an unprovoked massacre of up to 100 pro-government troops in the northeastern province of Deir Ezzor Wednesday, signaling the initiation of a new and far more risky stage in the more than three-year-old direct United States military intervention in Syria.

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