Syria says US-led coalition hit its forces in the east
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Syria says US-led coalition hit its forces in the east

Spokesman for anti-IS alliance: Forces came under attack, acted in self-defense

Vehicles of the US-backed coalition forces in the northern Syrian town of Manbij, May 8, 2018. (Delil souleiman/AFP)
Vehicles of the US-backed coalition forces in the northern Syrian town of Manbij, May 8, 2018. (Delil souleiman/AFP)

DAMASCUS, Syria — The US-led coalition has attacked an army artillery position in eastern Syria, wounding two soldiers and destroying a cannon, a Syrian military official said Sunday.

Syria’s state news agency SANA quoted the unnamed military official as saying the attack late Saturday was followed by a foiled incursion by IS militants.

Spokesman for the US-led coalition Col. Sean Ryan said the partner forces acted in “self-defense” after coming under fire from the western side of the Euphrates River. Ryan said an investigation is underway.

US-led coalition forces, with their local Kurdish-led partners, are battling the remnants of Islamic State group on the eastern banks of the Euphrates, while government troops and allied forces are now positioned on the other side after dislodging IS from there.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed and Kurdish-led group, has intensified its offensive in the last area held by the extremists since US President Donald Trump announced plans to withdraw American troops last month. The ground offensive is taking place under the cover of airstrikes by the US-led coalition.

The radical Islamist group, which once controlled around a third of Syria and neighboring Iraq, is now besieged in a small area in eastern Syria where it has been relying on suicide attacks to stop the advance by SDF fighters. The area has been shrinking since the SDF began its offensive on September 10, and hundreds of fighters on both sides have been killed.

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