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Coalition jets scrambled to defend USA forces from Syrian bombing

Coalition jets scrambled to defend USA forces from Syrian bombing

Residents of the north-eastern Syrian city, which is mainly under the control of the Kurdish YPG militia, told news media that government warplanes had been attacking Kurdish districts in the city for the second day running on Friday.

Syrian government warplanes were in the air again on Saturday over the flash point northeastern city of Hasakeh, despite a United States warning against new strikes that might endanger its military advisers.

In another escalation of the five-year war, regime planes this week bombarded positions held by US-backed Kurdish forces in the city fighting the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group.

Ankara sees the Syrian Kurdish militia in Syria as an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

America has for two years led an global coalition against the IS group, conducting daily strikes and working with local forces on the ground to help them fight the jihadists.

It was not immediately clear whether the aircraft had carried out any bombing runs as there were heavy artillery exchanges on the ground.

The US has increased air patrols in the area, Davis said.

In a bid to calm tensions, a delegation of Russian officials from the coastal Hmeimim military airport arrived in the nearby city of Qamishli on Saturday for talks with the two sides.

Fierce fighting broke out since Wednesday between pro-regime forces and Kurdish Police (Assayech) after mutual accusations of arrests, making 39 dead, according to Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (OSDH). U.S. special operations forces have been in the area for months conducting training and advisory missions with the Arab and Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the major USA ally in the region.

PYD group, the Syrian affiliate of the extremist PKK organization, has besieged government forces in Al-Hasakah city in northeastern Syria, according to local sources.

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Cook was highly critical of Syrian military action in and around the divided city of Aleppo, which has become a main battlefield in Syria's civil war.

For the first time in the nearly six-years of the Syrian war, Syrian regime forces deployed warplanes against the YPG.

"This was done as a measure to protect coalition forces", Davis said.

"As we've said in the past, the Syrian regime would be well-advised not to interfere with coalition forces or our partners", Davis said.

Pentagon spokesman Capt Jeff Davis said that as far as he was aware, Thursday's mission was the first time that coalition aircraft had been scrambled to respond to an incident involving Syrian government aerial bombardment.

The YPG is a key element of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that has the backing of the U.S.in the fight against IS militants in Syria.

On Monday, Kurdish, regime, and Russian officials met in the coastal Khmeimim air base to hash out an agreement to put an end to the outbreak of violence in Hasakeh. It is thought to be the first time this has happened.

Meanwhile Moscow has released videos showing Russian warships in the Mediterranean firing missiles it says targeted the Islamist Jabhat group in Syria, formerly known as al-Nusra.

Syria has been gripped by civil war since March 2011 with various terrorist groups, including Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL), now controlling parts of it.

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