A US jet destroyed a Russian T-72 battle tank in 'self defense' in Syria
- A US jet operating in Syria destroyed a Russian-made T-72 battle tank near Al Tabiyeh, Syria on Saturday.
- The tank was destroyed one week after Russian forces reportedly fired on a position with US troops and their Syrian allies, the Syrian Democratic Forces.
- No US or SDF forces have been killed in any of the attacks, the Pentagon told Business Insider.
A US jet operating in Syria destroyed a Russian-made T-72 battle tank near Al Tabiyeh, Syria on Saturday, a Pentagon spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider.
"The tank had been maneuvering with coordinated indirect fire on a defensive position occupied by Syrian Democratic Forces and Coalition advisors," US Marine Corps Major Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway said, adding that the SDF's "position was within effective range of the hostile weapons systems."
The US has been training, equipping and backing the SDF rebels in Syria's civil war for years as Russia has provided similar assistance to pro-regime forces in close proximity.
Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson first reported the news of the tank's destruction and said that it had fired on US special operations troops in the same location as an attack last week, wherein 500 pro-regime forces fired on a US and SDF headquarters.
The US responded to that attack on February 7 with a furious barrage of air and artillery strikes and reported killing 100 pro-regime forces, but sources told Bloomberg on Saturday that as many as 200 or 300 Russian mercenaries were killed in the attack.
Rankine-Galloway said that no US or Syrian forces were killed or hurt in the tank attack, and the Pentagon reported only one SDF wounded after the attack on February 7.
The US maintains regular contact with the official Russian military and has established hotlines to ensure the forces don't come in contact, but increasing reports point to Russia using contractors to fight in Syria.