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08 February 2018, 01:14 | Myrtle Vega
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The pro-government forces had been backed by artillery, tanks and other heavy weaponry when they attacked an SDF headquarters "eight kilometres [5 miles] east of the agreed-upon Euphrates River de-confliction line", U.S. officials said.
The U.S. -led coalition had alerted Russian officials about the presence of SDF forces in the area far in advance of the thwarted attack, the U.S. official said.
The SDF are led mainly by a Syrian Kurdish militia, known as the People's Protection Units or YPG, whose presence has caused increased tension between the USA and Turkey, which considers the YPG to be "terrorists".
According to reports a headquarters of the Syrian Democratic Forces came under fire from artillery and tanks. However, according to one official, it is believed that Russian contractors may have been involved in the initial assault.
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".
U.S. military officials said the attacks, which began late on Wednesday, were conducted to "repel acts of aggression".
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"The coalition conducted strikes against attacking forces to repeal the act of aggression", it said.
The U.S. maintains about 2,000 troops in the country.
US-led coalition forces, who typically advise and assist SDF troops, conducted airstrikes against the Syrian forces who attacked their "well established" headquarters.
"We estimate more than 100 Syrian pro-regime forces were killed while engaging SDF and coalition forces", the official said, adding that the strikes targeted almost 500 personnel from "pro-regime" forces armed with tanks and artillery. One SDF member was injured.
Regime and SDF fighters were involved in several skirmishes in the area a year ago, as they each conducted parallel operations against some of the Islamic State jihadist group's last bastions. They spoke on condition of anonymity as details were still emerging on the attack.
Neither was it clear whether Russian Federation, which is conducting its own air campaign in support of the Syrian government, may have had any role in the incident.
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