U.S. forces have for the first time bombed a convoy of Syrian government and Iranian-backed militia forces after Russia was unable to keep them from entering an area where U.S. allies have been preparing to battle the Islamic State (IS) extremist group, the Pentagon says.
The Syrian-allied forces were threatening U.S. troops and allied rebel forces operating near the town of Al-Tanf on Syria's border with Jordan, and were hit with air strikes after Russian intervention and warning shots failed to deter them, the Pentagon said on May 18.
The attack left eight of the fighters dead, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Asked if the move signaled a broadening of U.S. involvement in the six-year Syrian civil war, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said, "We are not increasing our role in the Syrian civil war, but we will defend our troops."
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