The Pentagon says the U.S. scrambled fighter aircraft Thursday to protect American special operations forces and allies near the northeastern Syrian city of Hassakeh, which was being bombed by Syrian government warplanes.

Navy Capt. Jeff Davis says the U.S. is increasing air patrols there and is warning the Syrian regime that it will defend coalition troops if they are threatened. He says the warning was relayed through the Russians.

Davis says the U.S. aircraft arrived as the two Syrian aircraft were leaving, so had no radio contact with them. He says the U.S. forces were in the area training and advising Syrian Democratic Forces, and they were not hurt. But, he says the Syrian strikes were close enough "to give us pause."

Regime forces were battling Syrian Kurds there.