A military alliance including militias loyal to the head of the regime Bashar al-Assad announced on Wednesday that they would strike American positions in Syria if necessary, warning that the policy of “self-restraint” over U.S. strikes on loyalist militias will run out if Washington crosses “red lines.”
This threat marks an escalation of tensions between the United States and the militias backed by Iran over the matter of control of the southeastern border of Syria with Iraq.
The pro-Assad alliance issued a statement in the name of the “commander of the operations room of the forces allied to Syria” and it was published by media run by the Lebanese group Hezbollah.
This “military alliance” includes Iran and Russia but it was not clear if Moscow was a signatory to the statement.
The statement said: “America knows well that the blood of the sons of Syria, the Syrian Arab Army, and its allies is not cheap, and the capacity to strike their positions in Syria and their surroundings is available when circumstances will it.”
The international alliance which is led by the United States said on Tuesday that it had bombed a convoy of a militia allied to the Bashar al-Assad regime near the Al-Tanf border crossing with Jordan in southern Syria. A military source from the Forces of Martyr Ahmad al-Abdo Brigade told Alsouria Net that the convoy belonged to an Iranian militia.
The alliance said in a statement that it had destroyed a convoy of pro-regime forces near the Al-Tanf crossing, adding that it was composed of military equipment, anti-aircraft weapons, and 60 fighters. It said that it had warned the convoy against continuing to advance toward the crossing area, which the international coalition considers its zone of influence.
The coalition added that as a result of the failure of the militia to heed its warning, it hit it with an airstrike.
This is the second time coalition warplanes have hit pro-Assad militias under Iran’s authority, as militants were struck on May 18 by an airstrike while trying to advance south of the Zaza checkpoint toward Al-Tanf.
Col. Omar Sabreen, spokesman for the Forces of Martyr Ahmed al-Abdo told Alsouria Net that the militias that had been struck by the coalition were Iranian, and that they had been hit in an area near the Al-Shahma area where the Jaish al-Ashair was concentrated — a faction which is part of the Syrian opposition. He noted that the area was included in the “de-escalation zones.”
He also noted that this area is about 60 kilometers to the northwest of the Al-Tanf border crossing, adding that according to reports he’d received, the military convoy had been destroyed. He added: “Reports indicate that 60 fighters from the Iranian militia were killed.”
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.