The United States has conducted “lawful” strikes against the Syrian government forces and pro-government forces as part of the US-led coalition’s military campaign against the Daesh terrorist group, US President Donald Trump said.
US President Donald Trump wrote in a letter to the US Congress on Monday that since the last periodic update report, United States Armed Forces participating in the anti-Daesh campaign in Syria have undertaken “a limited number of strikes against Syrian government and pro-Syrian government forces.”
“These strikes were lawful measures to counter immediate threats to United States and partner forces engaged in that campaign,” Trump wrote.
Comprised of more than 70 members, the US-led coalition has conducted airstrikes, ground-based and rocket-propelled artillery fire against Daesh in Syria and Iraq. The strikes in Iraq are conducted in support of the Iraqi government, but those in Syria are not authorized by the UN Security Council and the Syrian government.
According to the latest figures from Operation Inherent Resolve, at least 801 civilians have been unintentionally killed by the coalition’s strikes in Syria and Iraq as of November.
During an unannounced visit to the Hmeimim airbase earlier on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria to their permanent bases after over two years of an anti-terrorist aerial campaign. According to US Defense Department spokesperson Eric Pahon, the withdrawal does not affect US priorities in the country.
Russia began a military campaign in Syria in late September 2015 at the request of Assad to fight the Daesh terror group. For the past two years, the Russian army has performed hundreds of airstrikes.
During the Syrian campaign, Russian troops have cleared out more than 90 percent of Daesh-held territories, including the ancient city of Palmyra.