U.S. military forces launched new airstrikes in Syria on Thursday, targeting pro-Assad forces in the southern part of the country, reported BuzzFeed News.
The airstrikes are understood to have hit a pro-regime militia that was advancing on U.S. and coalition forces at At Tanf, according to Operation Inherent Resolve, the official name for the coalition fighting ISIS.
The target was a militia convoy of 27 vehicles, and there were several casualties, reported the UK Telegraph. The convoy approached a U.S. and coalition complex used to train Syrian forces and got within 29 kilometers of the base around midnight EDT on Thursday, reported CNN. Two American aircraft were dispatched to buzz the convoy, and warning shots were fired. When the militia didn't back down, the coalition launched the airstrikes. U.S. officials, who spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity, said the strike was intended to protect coalition forces.
This is the second time the Trump Administration has conducted airstrikes in Syria. On Feb. 24, 59 Tomahawk missiles were launched at a Syrian airfield in retaliation for a suspected chemical attack against civilians by the administration of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Thursday strikes are the most direct attack against the Syrian military so far.
Members of Congress have not yet responded to news of the strike. The Feb. 24 strike proved controversial, with some members alleging it was unconstitutional because the president had not sought approval from Congress. “His failure to seek congressional approval is unlawful,” said Sen. Tim Kaine. “[T]he United States was not attacked. The president needs Congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution,” said Sen. Rand Paul.
Defenders of that action noted that President Obama had launched similar airstrikes without Congressional approval.