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Officials: US strike hits pro-Assad forces Syria

In this frame grab provided by Russian Defence Ministry press service Russian long range bomber Tu-22M3 flies during an air strike over Syria on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. Russia's Defence Ministry said on Tuesday Russian warplanes have taken off from a base in Iran and in Russia to target Islamic State fighters in Syria. (Russian Defence Ministry Press Service photo via AP)

BEIRUT (AP) — U.S. officials say an American airstrike has hit pro-Syrian government forces in southern Syria as they were setting up fighting positions in a protected area.

The officials say the strike near Tanf hit a tank and a bulldozer and forces there, but it was not clear if they were Syrian army troops or other pro-government allies.

One official says the pro-regime forces had entered a so-called "de-confliction" zone without authorization and were perceived as a threat to U.S.-allied troops there. The officials say the strike was a defensive move to protect the U.S. allies. It wasn't clear if U.S. forces were there.

The officials weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity.

everal Syrian opposition media groups with activists in the area say the airstrike hit a convoy of government troops and allied militiamen on the road to the Tanf area, where Syria's borders with Jordan and Iraq meet.

One opposition media group, the Palmyra News Network, says the attack at the Zarka juncture, about 27 kilometers or 17 miles from the border, destroyed a number of vehicles and caused casualties.

The area has been a source of tensions as both government forces and U.S.-backed rebels advance there. Both the government forces and the rebels are trying to rout Islamic State militants from the area.

The Revolutionary commandoes or Maghaweer al-Thawra, a U.S.-backed group, shared a report about the airstrike on their Twitter account.


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