13.02.2018 | US drone destroys tank as Trump's forces kill scores of Russian troops' in Syria
Source - The Daily Express
On Saturday, US forces destroyed a Russian-made T-72 tank in Syria after pro-Assad forces opened fire on US special ops and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Colonel Dillon confirmed the news, adding: “The tank had been maneuvering with coordinated indirect fire on a defensive position occupied by Syrian Democratic Forces and coalition advisers.
“The defensive position was within effective range of the hostile weapons systems. Coalition officials maintained regular contact with Russian counterparts via established deconfliction lines to avoid misperceptions and miscalculations that could endanger each other’s forces.”
US forces have been fighting alongside the SDF for years while Russia has been training and equipping pro-Assad forces in the region.
Russia's military says it had nothing to do with the attack - a claim accepted by the US.
The SDF is an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters, working with coalition support to root out the final ISIS fighters still in the region.
The main Kurdish component of the SDF, known as People's Protection Units (YPG), is the target of a military operation in northern Syria by US ally Turkey, which considers the YPG a 'terrorist' group.
The attack on the SDF in eastern Syria could spell further trouble for the US-backed forces, which have largely avoided confrontation with pro-Assad units until now.
The drone strike comes after more than 100 pro-regime soldiers fighting on behalf of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad were killed in a failed attack on a base held by US and Kurdish forces in the same region, according to Russian officials.
Sources also told Bloomberg that as many as 200 or 300 Russian mercenaries were killed in the attack on Saturday.
US military spokesman Colonel Ryan S. Dillon said: “Coalition officials were in regular communication with Russian counterparts before, during and after the thwarted, unprovoked attack.
“Russian officials assured coalition officials they would not engage coalition forces in the vicinity.”
He said the death toll from the fighting remains unclear but added the military was not aware of any direct US strikes on Russian forces.