Syrian state media confirmed on Thursday that dozens of fighters were killed in United States (US)-led coalition strikes overnight but appeared to deny the victims were soldiers.
“In a new aggression and in an attempt to support terrorism, coalition forces targeted popular forces” in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, state television said, apparently referring to paramilitary groups allied to the regime.
According to a US military official, at least 100 pro-regime fighters were killed in what the US Central Command said were retaliatory strikes.
State media acknowledged that what it termed “popular forces” were targeting the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are supported by the coalition and host its advisers on its bases.
The state news agency SANA said the fighters hit by the coalition were “battling Daesh terrorist and SDF groups”, referring to the militant Islamic State group and the Kurdish-dominated militia respectively.