BREAKING. US-Led Coalition Aircraft Target Syrian Army Forces (REVISED)

BREAKING. US-Led Coalition Aircraft Target Syrian Army Forces (REVISED)

This Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016 photo shows an Israeli Air Force F-15 plane in flight during a graduation ceremony for new pilots in the Hatzerim air force base near the city of Beersheba, Israel. Anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria into Israeli-controlled territory early on Friday, following a series of Israeli airstrikes inside Syria, the Israeli military said. The military said its warplanes struck several targets in Syria and were back in Israeli-controlled airspace when several anti-aircraft missiles were launched from Syria toward the Israeli jets. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

This is important.

Not a lot of details are available so cut me some slack as I use tweets:

The latter tweet is ambiguous. I’m not sure what “special forces” are being referred to here and I haven’t read of significant numbers of US special forces embedded with the al-Qaeda-lite rebels fighting the Syrians. Our people are with the Iraqis and Kurds facing ISIS.

This is a major departure from previous US policy. The last time we hit the Syrian army it was allegedly by accident and we apologized. Even after the nerve agent attack by the Syrian regime we selected weapons that were calculated to minimize casualties.

The U.S.-Russia deal to bring peace to Syria seemed near collapse late Saturday, as the two countries publicly accused each other of double-dealing and atrocities in the wake of an apparently mistaken U.S. airstrike that killed dozens of Syrian soldiers.

The U.S. Central Command acknowledged the strike, in eastern Syria’s Deir al-Zour province, saying it was “halted immediately” when U.S. forces were informed by Russia “that it was possible the personnel and vehicles targeted were part of the Syrian military.” Central Command said the intended target had been Islamic State forces in the area.

A U.S. Defense official said the strike “appears to be an intelligence failure.”

The initial reports said the strike was in southern Syria. Now the exact location is known

I’d call this eastern Syria, but whatever. The camp thought to be in jeopardy is run by US and UK trainers and this makes more sense given its proximity to Jordan. Apparently, Coalition aircraft buzzed the Syrian column to get them to turn around and when they wouldn’t they bombed them. This is what you can do when the operational commander has the authority and you don’t have to go to the White House for an answer. Two Syrian SU-22 tried to intercept the Coalition aircraft and were in turn intercepted by a pair of F-22 Raptors. The Syrians decided not to pursue the matter.

The theater chosen for intervention is critical to understanding the objective. The Iranians and their stooges in Lebanese Hezbollah are trying to take an area sitting astride the supply lines linking Hezbollah in the Golan Heights border to Damascus. With this area in their possession, Hezbollah can open a front against Israel (see a more detailed post on the subject). This will, naturally, lead to Israeli retaliation and fragment the very fragile and problematic boots-on-the-ground part of the anti-ISIS and anti-Assad effort. The strike could also be tied to Trump’s attempt to put together an “Arab NATO.” This strike would show that we are willing to do more to stop Iran than share intelligence.

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