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Syria Says U.S.-Led Coalition Jets Attacked Its Army

A pair of US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq. File photo
A pair of US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq. File photo

A Syrian military official says the U.S.-led coalition attacked an army artillery position in eastern Syria that wounded two soldiers and destroyed a cannon.

"U.S. coalition aircraft launched an aggression this evening against one of the Syrian Arab army formations operating in the Albukamal area in the southeastern countryside of Deir al-Zor," Syrian state news agency SANA cited the military source as saying early on February 3 about the attack that reportedly took place the previous day.

The site of the attack is near a front-line where Syrian forces are fighting against a pocket of Islamic State fighters.

U.S.-led coalition spokesman Colonel Sean Ryan said in an e-mail that "our partner forces were fired upon and exercised their right to self defense." He said the incident was being investigated.

The U.S.-led forces -- which include the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a collection of Syrian militias spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG -- are fighting against some of the last IS-held areas in Syria.

The extremist Islamic State group only holds a couple of villages in Syria, having lost almost all its territory in 2017 to two rival offensives, one by the SDF, and one by the Syrian Army, which is supported by Russia.

Ryan said the IS territory on the Euphrates River is "down to the last two villages" and that the coalition expected these to be "clear soon." He added that the remaining IS fighters were mostly foreigners.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP