Led Coalition Airstrikes Kill Over 100 Syrian Soldiers

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More than 100 Syrian pro-government fighters were killed in their air strikes in the eastern province of Deir-i-Zur by the US-led coalition, Reuters reported, citing a spokesman for the usa authorities.

"In defense of coalition and partner forces, the coalition conducted strikes against attacking forces to repel the act of aggression against partners engaged" in the fight against Islamic State (IS) extremists, the statement said.

This clash, which took place in Khusham near the Euphrates River, is the largest reported to date between US -backed forces and pro-regime forces in Syria.

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.

Russian officials assured coalition officials they would not engage coalition forces in the vicinity, she said.

They "were likely seeking to seize oilfields in Khusham that had been a major source of revenue for Daesh from 2014 to 2017", he said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

The Pentagon said it was not looking for conflict with the Syrian regime, Reuters reported.

The statements come hours after coalition admitted to having made several attacks on positions of forces loyal to Syrian government in response to an "unprovoked attack" against FDS offices.

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U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services Committees, criticized the U.S. strikes. Russia's foreign ministry said the US was attempting to secure Syrian resources.

White added that all pro-government vehicles and personnel who turned around and headed west were not targeted during the coalition strikes.

The official state news agency SANA said the local fighters were battling Islamic State militants and the US -backed SDF in the area. Initial media reports, citing unnamed USA officials, suggested that some 100 Syrian soldiers had died in the assault by the coalition forces.

The Observatory, which relies on a network of activists on the ground, said the Khusham area, near one of the province's largest oil fields, saw intense clashes with heavy weaponry late Wednesday between pro-government forces and the SDF. The media cited reports of dozens killed and wounded.

The US has launched rare air strikes in eastern Syria to thwart an attack on allied Kurdish and Arab fighters by forces aligned to Syria's government.

The river has always been a dividing line between USA -backed forces and Russian- or Iranian-backed fighters of the Assad regime.

Russian Federation on Thursday said the U.S. goal in Syria was not to fight IS, but to capture the country's economic assets.

In June past year, a U.S. Navy jet shot down a Syrian plane after it attacked U.S. -backed fighters on the ground.

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