Coalition airstrike kills 18 friendly Syrian Democratic Forces fighters

The Combined Joint Task Force reports a Coalition led airstrike has killed 18 friendly fighters near Tabqa, Syria.

According to the Operation Inherent Resolve press release, the strike was in support of partnered forces fighting ISIS south of Tabqa.

Officials say the coordinates were relayed by partnered forces who identified the target location as an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighting position.

The target location was actually a forward Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting position.

In its press release, the Coalition offered its condolences to those lost.

“The Coalition’s deepest condolences go out to the members of the SDF and their families,” the release reads. “The Coalition is in close contact with our SDF partners who have expressed a strong desire to remain focused on the fight against ISIS despite this tragic incident.”

The Coalition says it’s assessing the cause of the incident and will implement appropriate safeguards to prevent similar incidents in the future.

The ongoing fight against the Assad regime and ISIS continues to dominate the 24-hour news cycle.

Wednesday, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, President Trump conceded during a joint news conference that America’s relationship with Russia is at an all time low.

Earlier in the day, Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley signaled the Trump administration wanted to work with Russia to end the war in Syria and called for the UN to condemn Syria’s recent chemical attack on its population.

The United States, France and Britain sponsored a draft UN resolution that would have strengthened the ability of international investigators to look into the details of a chemical attack in Syria on April 4. The resolution won 10 votes, however Russia vetoed it and China abstained from the vote.

Haley condemned Russia for choosing to use its veto power to back Assad and the Syrian government.

“By its failure Russia will continue to be isolated,” she said.

The US launched Tomahawk missiles April 7 in response to the chemical weapons attack against Syrian civilians by the Syrian government.

This Tomahawk strike marks the first direct attack by the US on the Assad government.

The Russian Foreign Ministry denounced the attack as being based on false intelligence and against international law, suspended the Memorandum of Understanding on Prevention of Flight Safety Incidents that had been signed with the US.

The source of the chemical attack is being reported as “undetermined” by many news sources, with some calling it a false flag manufactured by the US. However, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis says there’s “no doubt” the Syrian regime is responsible. He also offered Assad some advice.

“The Syrian regime should think long and hard,” Mattis said, “before it again acts so recklessly in violation of international law against the use of chemical weapons.”

The Coalition says SDF are making considerable strides against terrorists in Tabqa and Raqqa.

“The Syrian Democratic Forces and their Syrian-Arab coalition continue advancing as they further isolate Raqqa city,” said Air Force Col. John Dorrian, speaking by teleconference from Baghdad.

“They continue to make progress in clearing ISIS fighters from the territory in the vicinity of Tabqa, having cleared territory east and north of Raqqa, where they are now nearing positions to enable their assault to liberate the city.”

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  • Jim Verchio is a staff writer for Popular Military. As a retired Air Force Public Affairs craftsman, Jim has served at all levels. From staff writer to Editor-In-Chief, he has more than 30 years experience covering military topics in print and broadcast from the CONUS to Afghanistan. He is also a two time recipient of the DoD’s prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award for journalism excellence.

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