Coalition Aircraft Destroys 14 ISIS Tanks in Palmyra

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Coalition aircraft destroyed 14 Islamic State tanks and an anti-aircraft system that the militants had captured from the Syrian army in recent fighting in the ancient city of Palmyra, the U.S.-led coalition announced Friday.

The massive daylight airstrike, which was conducted Thursday, involved 16 coalition aircraft that dropped 22 bombs or other munitions on 22 targets, the coalition said in a statement.

The Islamic State seized the heavy weapons and other equipment when they recaptured Palmyra, an archeological gem in central Syria, from Syrian forces earlier this week. The equipment was taken from the Tiyas Military Airfield, a Syrian military post near Palmyra.

The airstrikes highlight the complexity of the war in Syria, where a Russian-backed Syrian military is fighting a range of forces, including U.S.-backed rebels.

Washington has accused Russia of mostly ignoring the Islamic State while it backs the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The U.S.-led military coalition is attempting to avoid Syrian forces and Russia while it pursues the Islamic State, which has set up a number of strongholds in war-torn Syria.

But those competing interests sometimes overlap. Any strike on Islamic State militants in Palmyra will bolster the Assad regime, which will almost certainly attempt to take the city back.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Jim Michaels