Around a base near the Syria-Iran-Jordan border, the US-led global coalition conducted a show of force on Friday amid repeated reported violations of a Russian-US de-confliction zone in southeast Syria.
Dozens of USA forces are reportedly stationed at the base.
Such an attack might prompt the U.S.to respond with punishing reprisals using similar weapons, especially if a Russian attack caused casualties to the USA or its allies, officials said. The use of the wording "precision strikes" in a written note to the US sparked alarm with US commanders that the Russians are signaling their intent to strike with aircraft firing precision weapons, or missiles launched from Russian ships in the Mediterranean, US defense officials tell CNN.
Citing several unnamed US defense officials, CNNreported Thursday that Russian Federation warned the USA military twice in the last week that its forces and Syrian regime units are prepared to attack militants near al Tanf.
The Russians have accused the United States of sheltering terrorists by protecting the area around At Tanf, a key strategic location for American forces and allied members of the anti-Islamic State coalition. The US has long demanded everyone stay away from this base, except rebels of course.
The US has always been fine with Islamists on the Jordan border, and is warning Russian Federation against taking any action against them, saying the US would view it as a "challenge" and that they would not hesitate to respond militarily if there is any move into the area.
"The United States does not seek to fight the Russians, the government of Syria or any groups that may be providing support to Syria in the Syrian civil war", said Lt. Col. Earl Brown, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command.
Russia's Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said he had told USA officials that Moscow was concerned over signs the United States was preparing new strikes on Syria and warned against "groundless and illegal aggression against Syria".
Syrian and Russian soldiers are seen at a checkpoint near Wafideen camp in Damascus, Syria March 2, 2018.
A state-sanctioned attack by Russian Federation could spark a flashpoint conflict in the region.
An attack in February by Russian mercenaries on another USA base in eastern Syria was repulsed by US airstrikes and artillery barrages, resulting in dozens of Russian casualties.
Russian forces have not recently been seen amassing their troops, however; the United States military was still on alert, officials said.
According to the report, US Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford were aware of the latest intelligence, adding that American troops in Syria "have the right of self-defense if they are attacked and would not need to ask permission from higher levels of the government before acting".
The Trump administration warned government officials in Russian Federation and Syria against a planned Idlib offensive in a tweet Monday. Russian Federation delivered an ominous warning last week on an impending chemical attack on the city, which some experts believe is an indication that the Syrian regime may indiscriminately use chemical weapons against the city.
On Tuesday the White House said that if Assad used chemical weapons "the United States and its allies would respond swiftly and appropriately". Jeffrey added that the attack would be a "reckless escalation".
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