The official statement said that Russian Federation had made "apparent" attempts to "dissuade Syrian pro-regime movement south toward At Tanf", but that those efforts were "unsuccessful". It was condemned by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has the backing of Iran and Russian Federation.
Western intelligence sources told Reuters that USA and British special forces are expanding the Tanf base to oust Islamic State militants from the eastern province of Deir Zor, that straddles Iraq, from the south east of Syria.
"A convoy going down the road didn't respond to numerous ways for it to be warned off from getting too close to coalition forces in al-Tanf", a Pentagon official said. They hit advancing vehicles outside a base called Tanf, near the Jordanian border.
A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon refuels from a 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron KC-135 Stratotanker in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, Feb. 15, 2017.
But the Syrian regime and its allies - including Iranian forces, Shiite militia, and Hezbollah - are also based some 40 miles outside Tanf, a rebel commander based there told BuzzFeed News last week, allowing them easy access to Tanf via a highway that cuts through the desert.
An American airstrike hit pro-Syrian government forces in southern Syria Thursday, as they were setting up fighting positions in a protected area.
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Still, the strikes would be the first against fighters aligned with Syria's government since the United States waged cruise missile strikes on a Syrian air base in April. The strike took place within a de-escalation zone, where all military activity is banned under a deal, which was brokered by Russia, Iran and Turkey during the May 3-4 negotiations in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan.
Syria has remained embroiled in a civil war since 2011 after the regime launched a crackdown on pro-democratic protesters.
According to ABC News, U.S. officials said several of the Syrian vehicles were destroyed in the strike.
It was the first close confrontation between the USA military and forces supporting Mr Assad.
"The agreed upon deconfliction zone agreement remains in effect", the statement said.