U.S. military executed an air strike against a militia supported by the Bashar al Assad’s regime in Syria on Thursday.  According to defense officials, the targeted militia posed a direct threat to U.S. backed forces in the southern region of the embattled nation.

The air strikes reportedly took place near the town of At Tanf.  According to defense officials, they successfully destroyed at least one tank and bulldozer.

According to reports, aircraft from the U.S. military first fired warning shots near the advancing militia intended to dissuade them from continuing their movement toward the rebels.  When the warning shots failed to stop them, the decision was made to target them with an air strike in order to protect the friendly forces nearby.

Muzahem al Saloum, from the Maghawir al Thawra group, told journalists that the air strike occurred only after U.S. backed rebel forces clashed with Syrian and Iranian militias.  Despite warning shots from U.S. aircraft, they advanced to within 17 miles of the rebel base.

“We notified the coalition that we were being attacked by the Syrian army and Iranians in this point, and the coalition came and destroyed the advancing convoy,” Saloum said.

The Pentagon has yet to make an official statement regarding the air strikes.

Although the targets of these strikes were backed by the Syrian and Iranian governments, the decision to do so likely does not represent a shift in policy regarding Assad’s regime or the intent of U.S. forces within Syria.  Despite Assad’s accused human rights violations, the current U.S. policy regarding Syria does not call for removing him from power or participating in an active military campaign against the formal Syrian government.  The focus of ongoing military action in Syria will likely remain on ISIS, despite this altercation.

“We conducted a show of force. We conducted warning shots. All to no avail,” one official said.