Syrian President Assad, Iraqi security advisor discuss 'direct' military cooperation

According to a U.S. defense official, a convoy of 20 pro-regime vehicles was headed toward al-Tanf, a military base on the Syrian-Jordanian border, on Wednesday night.

"The strike occurred at 16:30 p.m. local time Thursday, leaving several people dead and causing significant material damage", the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) quoted a military source as saying on Friday.

A senior USA official told Fox News that Thursday's strike was called for by the commander on the ground for "force protection", Shephard Smith reported.

That strike was in response to a sarin gas attack against civilians US officials say was carried out by forces loyal to Assad.

"This was despite #Russian attempts to dissuade pro-regime movement towards At Tanf, #Coalition aircraft show of force, & warning shots", Operation Inherent Resolve said in a tweet.

Coalition forces, it went on to assert, had been operating near Al-Tanf "for many months, training and advising vetted partner forces" engaged in the fight against the Daesh terrorist group.

The attack comes at a time when the US presence in Syria is becoming more visible, mostly in the northern parts of the country where American troops are backing Kurdish-led forces fighting the Islamic State group.

Last June, Russian aircraft also struck the base twice within several hours, the second time after being warned by the US that it was a base used by coalition forces.

The U.S. military also contacted Russian Federation through a hotline established to facilitate communications and urged it to prevail upon Syria to leave.

US officials say an American airstrike has hit pro-Syrian government forces in southern Syria as they were setting up fighting positions in a protected area.

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The strike took place in At Tanf near Syria's border with Jordan and Iraq, the official said.

Several Syrian opposition media groups with activists in the area say the airstrike hit a convoy of government troops and allied militiamen on the road to the Tanf area, where Syria's borders with Jordan and Iraq meet. The area has been considered a de-conflicted zone under an agreement between the USA and Russian Federation earlier this month.

An Iraqi envoy met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Thursday to explore direct military cooperation against Islamic State (IS) militants, Syrian state media said.

The head of the National Hospital in Salamiyeh, Dr. Noufal Safar, said the hospital received 52 bodies, including 11 women and 17 children.

The Syrian regime claimed the bombardment killed a number of people and said it revealed the "falseness" of the coalition's claim to be exclusively fighting Islamic State (IS) in the war-torn country.

De Mistura's separate meetings with Syrian opposition and government representatives have yielded little outcome after four days of talks.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said eight non-Syrian fighters were killed in the United States attack. Hariri said the government is not serious about discussing the political process of transition.

Thursday's attack comes as government forces are on the offensive against the extremists in other parts of Syria.

Syria's state news agency SANA said troops and pro-government gunmen repelled the IS attack on villages in Hama province.

ISIL confirmed on social media that its fighters had captured Aqarib al-Safi.

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