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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Syrian regime jets hit Kurdish positions, even after US warning

Syrian regime jets pounded US-backed Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria for a second day, even after the US-led coalition scrambled jets to protect its military advisers working on the ground.
In another escalation of Syria's bloody conflict, warplanes from President Bashar al-Assad's regime were bombarding the city of Hasakeh -- targeting Kurdish forces that for months have worked closely with coalition military advisers helping local fighters combat the Islamic State group.
On Thursday, the United States sent fighter jets to head off air strikes conducted by regime planes and to protect coalition advisers, but the Syrian planes had left by the time they arrived.
It was apparently the first time the coalition had scrambled jets in response to a regime action, and possibly the closest call yet in terms of Syrian forces coming close to killing American or coalition advisers.
"This was done as a measure to protect coalition forces," Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said.
"We will ensure their safety and the Syrian regime would be well-advised not to do things that place them at risk... We view instances that place the coalition at risk with the utmost seriousness and we do have the inherent right of self-defense."
But the Pentagon warning appeared to fall on deaf ears.
Two Syrian regime warplanes attempted to fly to the area again on Friday, but were met by coalition aircraft, a US defense official said in a statement.
"The presence of the coalition aircraft encouraged the Syrian aircraft to depart the airspace without further incident," he said. "No weapons were fired by the coalition fighters."
Most of Hasakeh city is controlled by Kurdish forces, while the rest is held by fighters loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. READ MORE