MESOP NEWS TODAYS TOP OF THE AGENDA : U.S.-Led Coalition, Pro-Regime Forces Clash in Eastern Syria / Analysis by Charles Lister and others

Dozens of people were killed in bombings by the U.S.-led coalition in Syria (AP) after Syrian government forces attacked troops from the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the eastern city of Deir ez-Zor.

The U.S.-led coalition said in a statement that the air strikes were carried out in response to what it called an “unprovoked attack” by pro-regime forces (BBC) on a well-known SDF base where coalition advisors were present. It estimated the strikes killed a hundred pro-government forces, which would be the highest number of such casualties inflicted by the coalition. Syrian state media said government forces were fighting Islamic State militants in the area (CNN) and that the international coalition targeted them in an “attempt to support terrorism.”


“The U.S. has successfully slithered its way into Syria and established a permanent military presence in a changing and often vacuous battlefield,” Samer Abboud writes for Middle East Eye.

“Much like Lebanon’s civil war, a nasty internecine conflict with countless casualties that lasted fifteen years, the situation in Syria today is further complicated by a dizzying array of actors pursuing divergent interests in partnership with competing groups,” says Mara Karlin in testimony to a U.S. House foreign affairs subcommittee (PDF).

“By seeking to stabilize Syria’s northeast, the U.S. is going some way towards minimizing the risk of an ISIS comeback. However, in doing so through the SDF, we continue to enrage nearly every other actor involved in Syria,” Charles Lister and William F. Wechsler write for Politico.