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Syria says US forces 'kidnapped civilians' near Deir Ezzor

Syrian state media claims US forces carried out large-scale airborne operation backed by Syria Democratic Forces fighters
A US Bradley Fighting Vehicle drives during a joint military exercise between the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group, in Deir Ezzor, Syria, on 7 December 2021 (AFP)

US forces carried out a "large airborne operation" near Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria on Monday at dawn, Syrian state news agency Sana said.

The US forces landed in the town of Busayra, east of the province, and "kidnapped a number of civilians", it said.

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The report claimed that US forces, backed by Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters, attacked the area with gunfire on homes and agricultural lands, killing three civilians from the same family.

There was no independent confirmation of the report.

Deir Ezzor, located along the Iraqi border, is a strategic supply route for Iranian-backed militias who regularly send reinforcements into Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad.

US forces are deployed at a base in al-Tanf region, south of Deir Ezzor, as part of a combat mission against Islamic State militants who continue to wage a low-level insurgency in Iraq and Syria.

The Syrian government and its allies have repeatedly said US troops have no legitimate reason to be at the base.

The desert garrison came under drone attack and indirect fire in October, US officials said at the time, but no casualties were reported.

No one had claimed responsibility for the attack on the base, which is located in close proximity to Iranian-backed forces in the area, which sits on the strategically important Baghdad-Damascus highway.

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