Two positions held by Syrian forces in the Homs Governorate were hit by missile strikes shortly before midnight on June 22, the Russian news outlet Daily Storm reports. The first strike targeted the village of Al-Halba, which lies south of Palmyra, and the second strike was directed further south, at Al-Qaryatayn, south-east of Homs. At least one Syrian soldier was killed and several were wounded. Sources report that the air strike was made by the US-led coalition in order to counter the Syrian army’s effective operation to destroy the terrorist groups in the deserts in the south of Syria.
The air strike on the SAA’s positions was a surprise attack. The soldiers did not hear the sound of airplanes approaching, which indicates that drones were likely used. The size of the explosions indicates that the devices belong to the coalition, a source commented. The US army is known to be using the MQ-9 Reaper drone, which is equipped with Hellfire II missiles, in Syria. According to Pentagon reports, such a drone was involved in the attack on the Conoco gas field in February, which led to the death of several Russians.
Several sources claim that the coalition forces have been trying to relocate large convoys of armored vehicles from the Al-Tanf base in southern Syria to the east, towards Iraq. According to reports from one news agency, the Syrian army opened fire on several US military vehicles, which then returned fire. The reports have not been officially confirmed, however.
The US is not taking risks with its soldiers in Syria, and it would not be hard to monitor an American vehicle convoy from Al-Tanf, since Syrian forces have already virtually surrounded the base. The free territory around it is limited to a stretch with a 55 kilometer radius, the perimeter of which is controlled by the SAA. This was reported at the end of 2017 by Valery Gerasimov, Chief of Russia’s General Staff.
On June 21 there were also reports of an air strike on the village of Al-Shifa in the eastern vicinity of Deir al-Zor. Eight locals were killed in the coalition attack, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported. On Monday the agency reported that there had been an attack on soldiers in the Al-Hari settlement, but the Pentagon denied the allegations.