Russia warns US of possible Syria attack in area with US troops: report

Russia warns US of possible Syria attack in area with US troops: report
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Russia has warned the U.S. multiple times this week that its forces are prepared to attack an area of Syria that has dozens of U.S. troops, according to a CNN report

Moscow reportedly claims the area, which includes a U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition base, contains Al Qaeda or ISIS militants, according to the outlet. U.S. troops defend a 34-mile exclusion zone around At Tanf base. 

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The U.S. has discouraged Russia from challenging the American military presence. 

"We have absolutely advised them to stay out of At Tanf," a U.S. official told CNN. "We are postured to respond."
 
"The United States does not seek to fight the government of Syria or any groups that may be providing it support," a defense official todl CNN. "However, if attacked, the United States will not hesitate to use necessary and proportionate force to defend US, coalition or partner forces." 

The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday announced new sanctions on allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad amid concerns over an imminent assault on Idlib province. 

“Millions of innocent people in Idlib province are currently under the threat of imminent attack from the Assad regime, backed by Iran and Russia, under the pretense of targeting ISIS.  At the same time, the Assad regime has a history of trading with the terror group,” Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinHillicon Valley: Facebook weighs crackdown on anti-vaccine content | Lyft challenges Trump fuel standards rollback | Illinois tries to woo Amazon | New round of China trade talks next week On The Money: Trump declares emergency at border | Braces for legal fight | Move divides GOP | Trump signs border deal to avoid shutdown | Winners, losers from spending fight | US, China trade talks to resume next week Treasury sanctions top Maduro allies in Venezuela MORE said in a statement. 

Russia this week conducted strikes in Idlib, the last major stronghold held by rebels loyal to Assad.