US troops confront Assad loyalists in Syria's Qamishli
US troops in northeast Syria Wednesday confronted Assad regime loyalists with an air strike and live fire after one of their patrols came under attack close to the northeastern city of Qamishli, a war monitor said.
American forces killed one regime loyalist in the rare clash in the regime-held village of Khirbet Amo, east of Qamishli, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
US warplanes launched one strike before the confrontation ended with the American convoy pulling out of the area, the monitor and the correspondent said.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported a US strike during the clashes in the regime-held village of Khirbet Amo, but coalition spokesman Myles Caggins denied any raid had taken place.
"Coalition forces, conducting a patrol near Qamishli, Syria, encountered a checkpoint occupied by pro-Syrian regime forces," Caggins said.
"The patrol came under small arms fire from unknown individuals. In self-defence, coalition troops returned fire."
Caggins said the patrol returned safely to base after the situation was "de-escalated".
The US coalition confirmed the clash in a statement.
"Coalition forces, conducting patrol near Qamishli, encountered a checkpoint occupied by pro-Syrian regime forces", the statement said.
"After the coalition troops issued a series of warnings and de-escalation attempts, the patrol came under small arms and fire from unknown individuals. In self-defence, coalitions returned fire. The situation was de-escalated and is under investigation," the statement added.
Bashar al-Assad's regime lost control of huge swathes of Syria to rebels when an armed uprising erupted following brutal repression of peaceful anti-government protests in 2011.
According to UN figures, the Syria war has caused the greatest refugee crisis in the world, with at least 5.5 million people fleeing the country and more than 6 million more displaced inside Syria.
The Syrian war is considered to have caused the biggest wave of displacement since World War II.