American fighter jets scrambled to protect U.S. advisers working alongside Kurdish forces in northern Syria on Thursday after they were nearly bombed by Syrian military aircraft, a Pentagon official said Friday.
The Syrian air strike targeted Kurdish forces who were receiving training from U.S. special operations personnel, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said.
The Pentagon confirmed that all American special forces were safe. Davis warned that the Syrian government would be "well-advised" to avoid interfering with U.S.-led coalition forces in the future, NBC Nightly News reported.
"We view instances that place the coalition at risk with utmost seriousness and we do have the inherent right of self defense," Davis said.
The incident was the closest U.S. ground forces have come to an attack by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, according to the Pentagon.
The Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, are allied with U.S. forces to fight against the Islamic State in the region.
President Obama announced in April that the U.S. would deploy 250 Special Operations Forces to train and fight alongside local militia in Syria. The development increased the U.S. presence in Syria to roughly 300 troops by official counts.