US aircraft carried out rare, retaliatory strikes in Syria's Deir al-Zor province on Wednesday against forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after they attacked USA -backed fighters' headquarters there, US officials said.
The initial attack happened eight kilometers, or roughly five miles, east of the de-confliction line on the Euphrates River.
A USA military official told CNN that the area where the us coalition and SDF compound is located contains lucrative oilfields and the Syrian government forces "were likely seeking to seize oilfields in Khusham that had been a major source of revenue for [Islamic State] from 2014 to 2017".
They "were likely seeking to seize oilfields in Khusham that had been a major source of revenue for Daesh from 2014 to 2017", the official said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.
It comes as the United States seeks to close out its campaign against the extremists in Syria and Iraq.More news: Two killed, over 100 injured in Taiwan earthquake
More news: Colts make it official, hire Josh McDaniels as new coach
More news: Rahul Dravid expresses concern regarding U-19 staff cash reward
Russian Federation and Iran back Assad, while the United States and Turkey support differing rebel groups fighting the government.
After approximately 500 pro-regime troops carried out an attack with tanks, mortar fire, and artillery on the Syrian Democratic Forces headquarters, the coalition launched a counterattack. One SDF member was wounded. Up to 30 artillery and tank rounds came within 500 yards of an SDF headquarters. They have not ruled out that Iranian backed-forces might have also been involved in the attack, this official said.
No U.S. special operations troops were hurt in the attack, officials told Fox News. Officials declined to say whether the airstrikes were conducted with manned or unmanned aircraft.
Officials said it appeared that the pro-regime forces were trying to take back land that the SDF had liberated from IS fighters last September, including oil fields in Khusham.