One Kurdish fighter was wounded in clashes with the Syrian army so the US launched massive airstrikes against it, killing 100 of its soldiers by its estimates. Politico:
In a major clash the U.S.-led military coalition in Syria has killed more than 100 troops allied with the regime of Bashar Assad — after some 500 soldiers backed by tanks launched what appeared to be a “coordinated attack” on a headquarters of rebel fighters being trained by American advisers, military officials revealed late Wednesday.
The combination of air and artillery strikes came after pro-regime troops attacked the compound of the Syrian Democratic Forces in Khusham, Syria, according to a military spokesman.
One SDF soldier was wounded, said Col. Thomas Veale of the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, the command that is directing the battle against the Islamic State terrorist group in Iraq and Syria.
Something is fishy about the US story. Supposedly 500 Syrian soldiers backed with armor hurled themselves against the SDF yet just one Kurdish fighter was wounded? Nonsense.
In fact, later on the US account goes on to admit that all that had happened was that some artillery rounds landed perhaps 500 meters away from SDF positions:
“After 20 to 30 artillery and tank rounds landed within 500 meters of the SDF headquarters location, Syrian Democratic Forces supported by the Coalition targeted the aggressors with a combination of air and artillery strikes,” the statement said.
Statement from the Pentagon:
Yet again Pentagon engages in its typical Orwellianism deeming the bombing of Syrian army men in their own country without a declaration of war “defensive”.
The US attack took place in Syria’s eastern Deir Ezzor province, specifically the US military hit Syrian army’s sole bridgehead on Euphrates left bank near Deir Ezzor city.
In other words, the supposed clashed between the Syrian army and the Kurdish-dominated SDF that preceded the bombing were taking place far, far away from any ethnic Kurdish territory. (Why is the SDF even occupying Arab-populated areas?)
According to reports from the ground the US also hit the Syrian army with rocket artillery (probably HIMARS).
This is now the fifth time the US has bombed the Syrian army. The first strike was also on Syrian soldiers in Deir Ezzor, and also killed some 100 soldiers.
US aircraft struck Syrian army soldiers three times last year in southern Syria when Americans claimed they had come within 50 kilometers of the US military outpost at al-Tanf on Syrian soil.
In September 2016 American, Australian and Belgian planes carried out a sustained attack on the Syrian army at Deir Ezzor that lasted for almost an hour. At the time Deir Ezzor was besieged by ISIS. The Pentagon claimed the bombing was a “mistake”. The strike served to bury a deal Kerry and Lavrov had reached a week before that if carried out would have ultimately seen the US and Russia fighting together in some instances.
Additionally the US shot down a Syrian jet over central Syria last June, and launched cruise missiles against its airbase last April.
By now the US has killed up to 250 Syrian army soldiers — all without a declaration of war.
Meanwhile as the US kills 100 soldiers of the national army in retaliation for one Kurdish fighter wounded, these same “SDF partners” in Afrin are targets of Erdogan’s all out offensive that has easily killed yet the US does nothing. In fact, Damascus is doing more to help than the US by allowing SDF from northeastern Syria to reinforce Afrin across its territory.
Likewise around Manbij SDF and US troops regularly skirmish with Turkish-backed rebels yet the US refrains from airstrikes and artillery attacks against them.
UPDATE — According to Al Masdar the US strikes actually killed some four times less fighters than Pentagon estimates:
While the U.S. claimed “100 pro-regime fighters” were killed in the attack, a military source told Al-Masdar News that an estimated 25 tribal fighters were killed near the town of Khasham in rural Deir Ezzor.
Pentagon report for FOX was told the US attack lasted for three hours and involved artillery, attack helicopters, gian AC-130 gunships, F-22s and F-15s:
U.S. counter-attack in Syria included Air Force AC-130 gunships, F-15s, F-22s, Army Apache helicopter gunships and Marine Corps artillery killing 100 Russian and Assad-backed fighters in 3-hour battle beginning around midnight last night.
— Lucas Tomlinson (@LucasFoxNews) February 8, 2018