Updated June 7
The US-led Coalition said on Tuesday, June 6 that it destroyed pro-Syrian government forces inside the deconfliction zone near At Tanf in Syria.
“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 posing a threat to Coalition and partner forces based at the At Tanf Garrison.”
The At Tanf Garrison is a military base near the border with Jordan and Iraq. It is manned by Coalition special operations forces that are advising and training Maghawir al-Thawra, a small Syrian rebel group.
On Wednesday, June 7, a spokesperson for the Coalition told Grasswire that pro-regime forces had advanced less than 10 km (6 miles) inside the de-confliction zone. They were warned several times via the de-confliction line but the forces refused to depart.
“Additionally, a bulldozer was brought in, presumably to fortify a new position within the established de-confliction zone. This resulted in Coalition airstrikes destroying two artillery pieces, an anti-aircraft weapon, and damaging a tank.”
CJTF-OIR spokesperson to Grasswire
The spokesperson said the artillery pieces destroyed were self-propelled, but did not specify if they were manufactured weapons systems or a “technical” vehicle – a commercial vehicle with a weapon mounted on it.
No Coalition or partner forces were hurt in the incident, and the spokesperson had no information to release on pro-regime casualties.
Russia 24 published video it said showed the aftermath of the airstrike:
Grasswire cannot confirm this video, but some of the damaged vehicles in the video have been identified as two 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzer artillery pieces, one ZSU-23-4 Shilka self-propelled, radar guided anti-aircraft weapon system, as well as several other commercial vehicles. The location of the video shoot has also been identified and is around 55km from At Tanf.
Syria’s state-run news agency SANA reported that the strike occurred at 17:40 and “claimed a number of lives and caused material damage.”
SANA’s unnamed source said that “this aggression confirms once again the Coalition’s support for terrorism,” adding that “the General Command of the Army and Armed Forces warn against the risks of this escalation and its ramifications.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday described the strike as an aggressive act that violated Syria’s sovereignty, TASS reported.
“Of course, this is an aggressive act, which violates the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic and which voluntarily or involuntarily targeted those forces that represent the most effective forces struggling with terrorists on the ground. This causes our concern.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
Last week, a Coalition spokesperson told Grasswire the presence of pro-regime forces in the area was unacceptable and threatening to its forces and the Coalition was prepared to defend itself.
The Coalition dropped leaflets in the area on May 28 warning pro-regime forces to return to their outpost near the Zaza checkpoint.
Syria: Coalition warns “threatening” pro-regime forces to leave At Tanf area