A Syrian was killed and another was wounded when government supporters attacked American troops and tried to block their way as their convoy drove through an army checkpoint in northeastern Syria, prompting a rare clash, state media and activists reported.
Syria’s defense minister on Monday slammed what he called the “illegitimate” U.S. military presence in his country, vowing that Damascus has a right to self-defense, while Iraq said a border crossing with Syria will open in the coming days.
Syrian President Bashar Assad authorized Iraqi forces on Sunday to attack the Islamic State group inside Syria without waiting for permission from authorities in Damascus, the state news agency SANA said, as the two allies coordinate their fight against extremists ahead of a planned U.S. withdrawal from Syria.
Syria's government and its ally Russia accused Washington on Thursday of concocting a "provocation" in Syria, which would then be blamed on President Bashar Assad's government as alleged use of chemical weapons to justify an attack.
Syria's military command announced it was expanding military operations against the Islamic State group in the country's north on Thursday, a move that draws government forces closer to potential conflict with Turkish troops and allied Syrian opposition forces fighting extremists in the region.
Syrian government troops on Saturday gained control of the village that houses the main water source for Damascus, as fighters begin to evacuate, in a major development that caps weeks of fighting in the area, according to Syrian state TV and opposition media.
Near-simultaneous bombings claimed by the Islamic State group struck in and around strongholds of the Syrian government and Kurdish troops Monday, killing at least 48 people in a wave of attacks that came a day after the militants lost a vital link to the outside world along the Syrian-Turkish border.