The US-led coalition has launched a fresh wave of strikes against forces supporting the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s volatile south, in what appears to be the latest sign of growing tension there.
The coalition claimed in a statement on Tuesday that the Syrian forces had entered the so-called de-escalation zones near the border with Jordan and Iraq despite several warnings.
“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,” the statement said.
“The coalition issued several warnings via the de-confliction line prior to destroying two artillery pieces, an anti-aircraft weapon, and damaging a tank,” it added.
The Tuesday incident is the second time in less than a month that coalition forces have attacked Syrian government forces in the area.
In a separate development a day earlier, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 21 civilians were killed during a US airstrike while they were trying to flee the Daesh-held northern city of Raqqah, with reports that women and children were among the casualties.
“The toll may continue to rise as some of the wounded are in critical condition,” the UK-based monitoring group noted.
The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be the targets of the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.
The US-led coalition has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of fulfilling its declared aim of destroying Daesh.