(BasNews) US Defense Secretary James Mattis confirmed that the US airstrikes carried out on Thursday in the southern Syria along the Iraqi border targeted the Iranian, not Syrian forces.
“They were Iranian-directed troops” who attempted to breach a designated deconfliction zone near the southern Syrian town of At Tanf, where the US training camp for moderate Syrian militias battling the Islamic State (IS) is located,” Mattis told reporters on Friday.
“It was necessitated … by offensive movement with offensive capability of what we believe were the Iranian-directed – I don’t know there were Iranians on the ground – but by Iranian-directed forces,” Mattis said at a news conference as reported by Reuters.
Tehran’s interference in Syria and its support for the Assad regime has only served to extend the country’s bloody civil war, Mattis said during a press conference on the ongoing fight against IS.
The US military conducted an air raid on Thursday against a convoy of Syrian pro-government forces who, it said, posed a threat to the US-backed forces near the town of At-Tanf near Syria’s border with Jordan and Iraq.