U.S.-led forces have carried out another airstrike on Syria, the International Coalition for Operation Inherent Resolve—responsible for U.S. military operations in the fight against ISIS—confirmed in a statement Tuesday afternoon. According to the Coalition, Syrian and allied forces breached an established deconfliction zone on Tuesday near al-Tanf, the site of a U.S. military base in southern Syria. U.S. special forces have been training Syrian opposition troops in the area for months in an effort to better combat ISIS.
Syrian and allied forces were reportedly warned multiple times not to enter the deconfliction zone, but ignored U.S. orders. The Coalition provided further detail:
Despite previous warnings, pro-regime forces entered the agreed-upon de-confliction zone with a tank, artillery, anti-aircraft weapons, armed technical vehicles and more than 60 soldiers posing a threat to Coalition and partner forces based at the At Tanf Garrison.
The Coalition issued several warning via the de-confliction line prior to destroying two artillery pieces, an anti-aircraft weapon, and damaging a tank.
The statement concluded by saying that “the Coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime or pro-regime forces but remains ready to defend themselves if pro-regime forces refuse to vacate the de-confliction zone.” Indeed, for most of the Syrian civil war—an ongoing, seven-year conflict between the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, its allies, and various opposition groups—the U.S. has refrained from military intervention. Under the Obama administration, the U.S. chose to arm moderate rebel groups and work with Russia to destroy Syria’s chemical-weapons stockpile rather than enact a military strike.