US warplanes attacked a Syrian military position along the border with
Iraq at Abu Kamal late Saturday. Syrian state media reported the attack
as “US aggression,” which reportedly wounded two soldiers and destroyed a stationary artillery piece.
Exactly what happened that led to this rare US attack on Syrian military targets is uncertain. The US-led coalition claimed that it involved their “inherent right to self defense,” and that some “partner forces were fired upon” by the artillery.
That’s a very non-specific allegation, and also seems unlikely. The only “partner forces” for the US anywhere near Abu Kamal are the Iraqi military, which is allied with Syria’s government, and the Kurdish SDF, which is also in the process of making a deal with the Syrian government to resist a Turkish invasion.
In the past, the US has referred to the “self defense” argument when forces were even perceived to be “too close,” though again, this doesn’t make a lot of sense if the US intends to withdraw from Syria, and the US partner forces are also effectively partner forces for the Syrian military.
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