US warns pro-Syrian fighters to leave area near training base

US warns pro-Syrian fighters to leave area near training base
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The United States is warning “hundreds” of Iranian-backed, pro-Syrian government fighters to move away from a U.S.-training base near Syria's border with Jordan and Iraq, a Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday. 

Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters that the U.S.-led coalition dropped leaflets over the weekend telling the fighters to leave the area — an established protected zone — where the coalition is training allied rebels.

The enemy fighters are loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and have been patrolling near At Tanf, Syria, the site of the U.S. training camp for Syrian militias fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Davis said.

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“We continue to see massing [of forces]. We are concerned about it, that’s why we dropped the leaflets over the weekend to warn them against that,” Davis said.

The United States earlier this month bombed militias aligned with Assad in At Tanf, after the forces advanced in a deconfliction zone and posed a threat to coalition-backed forces.

“These patrols and the continued armed and hostile presence of forces inside the deconfliction zone is unacceptable and it threatens coalition forces,” Davis said. “Coalition forces are prepared to defend themselves again if pro-regime forces refuse to vacate the deconfliction zone.”

Davis said the United States has “a regular recurring dialogue with the Russians” to express their concern with the Iranian-back forces and noted that the Russians “warned them to stay away from the area.”