A Syrians youth runs following an air strike in the rebel-held enclave of Arbin in the Eastern Ghouta near Damascus on February 8, 2018. AFP / Amer ALMOHIBANY
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Syrian state-run media said Thursday a rare U.S. strike on government-backed troops in eastern Syria killed and wounded dozens of tribal fighters, calling it a new effort "to support terrorism". The U.S.-led coalition said its action was in "self-defense," citing a major attack on its allied forces and U.S. advisers in Deir al-Zor province by at least 500 fighters, battle tanks, howitzers and mortars.In an email Thursday to The Associated Press, Col. Thomas F. Veale said the coalition reported to the Russians the buildup of the pro-government forces in the area before the attack, and communicated with them during and after it. The Russian officials offered assurances that they would not engage the coalition forces in the area, Veale said.It added that at least 45 pro-government troops, including Arab and Asian fighters, were killed.Meanwhile, the Observatory said 56 people, including 10 children, were killed Thursday in towns in the Eastern Ghouta area, which has been pummeled by artillery and airstrikes.
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