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Mattis: Militia hit by US strike in Syria Iran-directed offensive force

Sputnik – US Defense Secretary James Mattis stated that the US-led coalition strike on Thursday targeted Iranian-directed forces near Syria’s al-Tanf.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The pro-Syrian government force the US-led coalition targeted with a strike on Thursday was an Iran-directed militia with offensive capabilities, US Defense Secretary James Mattis said in a press conference on Friday.

“It [the strike] was necessitated by offensive movement with offensive capability of what we believe was Iranian-directed forces inside an established and agreed upon deconfliction zone,” Mattis stated.

On Thursday, the US-led coalition against the Islamic State terror group (banned in Russia) conducted a strike near Syria’s al-Tanf, where the United States and British special operations forces have been training Syrian rebel fighters near the border with Iraq and Jordan.

The coalition tried to warn off the pro-Syrian government forces prior to carrying out the airstrike. Russia also tried to get the forces to leave the area, but without success.

The coalition said it conducted the strike because the forces were perceived to be a threat to coalition troops, according to the Defense Department.