WASHINGTON – Russia accelerates a pressure campaign on US military forces in northern Syria after withdrawing America from most of that area before Turkey's cross-border offensive fall, American military and diplomatic officials say.
Russian military personnel were increasingly with US troops on highways in the region, breaking agreements between the two countries to steer each other clearly. Russian helicopters are flying closer to American troops. On Wednesday, a Civil Service-led convoy gave a fire following an attack near a checkpoint with staff loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is supported by Russia.
American officials say these actions are by Russian personnel and their Syrian allies to present a continuous set of challenges, probes and encroachments to create new facts on the ground and then create the US military presence – to protect oil fields and to protect the military. help combat the remains of the Islamic State – more intense.
“These are not everyday occurrences but the number of people has increased, so they are concerned,” said James F. Jeffrey, the best American diplomat who oversees Syrian issues, last week.
Submissions between Washington and Moscow in the north-east of the country are likely to increase dramatically, even as Russian-backed Russian government troops have increased rebel attacks in Idlib in northwest Syria.
“We know they're pushing,” said Deputy Adm Tim Szymanski, SEAL Navy who is a deputy head of the military's Special Operations Order, in an interview. He acknowledged the assessment of other government and independent analysts who say the Russians will continue to seek advantage in the northeast, even in areas that are patrolled by US and Kurdish Syrian colleagues and where Russian personnel are not appointed. go.
On Wednesday, a convoy was stopped by soldiers of the U. led by a Syrian army checkpoint east of Qamishli city. Photos and videos from the scene circulating on social media, and later confirmed at Patagon, he showed armored vehicles with U, Russian and Syrian flags beside each other. Some of the residents put stones on the American vehicles. Another resident dumped a dirt bucket behind one vehicle. Another person attempted to light some of the vehicles on fire, by an officer of the Department of Defense.
A short fire fight broke out, and one Syrian man was killed. No Americans were killed, but a few people were injured after receiving hand lacerations in the chaos later, the official said.
“After coalition forces issued a series of warnings and dismantling efforts, the patrol came on fire slightly from unknown people,” said Col. Myles Caggins, a US-led coalition spokesperson in Baghdad, oversees operation in northern Syria. “In self-defense, coalition troops set fire back.” T
A ministerial minister in the Russian defense said that Russian troops had access to the scene “a further escalation of the conflict can be prevented,” according to Tass's news agency, subsequently dismissed by American officials.
Brett McGurk, former President of Trump's special envoy, condemned the coalition of the Islamic State.
“We have American soldiers with an undefined mission in Syria ('protecting the oil') after abandoning saí the territory of any stable on Trump orders, which are now forced to control roads that govern Russian regime forces and Syria, ” Mr McGurk said on Twitter. “Enough to ask our brave heroes.”
In October last, Mr Trump suddenly ordered a total withdrawal of 1,000 American troops that helped Syrian Kurdish forces fight pockets of Islamic State fighters, opening Turkey's aggressive cross-border route. Mr. Trump then reversed itself and allowed about 500 troops to remain in a much smaller operating zone to protect the eastern oil fields of Syria from the Islamic State, and from the Syrian government and its Russian partners.
Since then, American military officials say, Russia and its Syrian counterparts are pushing the limits of agreements reached by Russia and the US to have their army patrolling their territory. Both sides established special communication channels to contradict each other on the ground, a process called the Pentagon's discouragement.
But Mr Trump has made it clear that he is skeptical about the Syrian mission, and Moscow sees analysts as a valuable opportunity.
“A full-Russian confrontation with the American Trump troops would encourage closure and duplication, but if Russia and its local allies can sustain a steady, low-level campaign in which dynamics are manipulated and red lines deepened, then who know what would happen, ”said Charles R. Lister, senior member of the Middle East Institute.
“Some random fights, which cannot be predicted, as near Qamishli, could easily enter a Trump radar and pave a way towards full American withdrawal,” Mr Lister said.
American military officers and diplomats have concentrated on a number of worrying developments in recent weeks. The Russians have disturbed the expulsion channel with requests for work in areas of American patrol, and then ignored American protests and traveled anyway. American patrols have stopped roads there, which forced the Russian patrols to get around. The Russians have also carried out land patrols individually when they were to form Russian-Turkish patrons in Turkish-controlled areas after their invasion.
The prevalence of Syrian and Russian forces is a matter not only on the ground, but also in the air, where the large number of exploration drones and other aircraft after the American air crop has exhausted, said one American defense officer.
American officials are concerned that these measures may increase following the passing of the Idlib campaign, and that the Russian government and Mr Assad will give their full attention to the north-east.
American officials had predicted that these positions could increase potentially dangerous with the Russians and their Syrian allies. In an interview last November, shortly after the Turkish invasion, Gen Kenneth F. McKenzie, one of the Commanding Commanders, said that the protection of oil fields could receive greater protection from Syrian Army troops than from the military. Islamic State.
“I expected the regime to come to a certain extent,” said General McKenzie.
The last time pro-Syrian government forces and Russian mercenaries sent allies threatened American troops near the oil fields, in February 2018, He released artillery and aerial bombardment leaving 200 to 300 of the assault fighters dead.
After American and Russian commanders agreed in late 2017 to fly on other sides of stretch 45 miles of Euphrates to prevent accidents in the oriental skies of Syria, a Russian explosion violated that they deal with half a dozen times in per day, American commanders said.
The Americans said that Moscow's attempt to test a US solution, U. Air Force's bait rounds to tackle rashly, and helped the Syrian army secure territorial gains before any diplomatic talks aimed at civil war country resolution.
Thomas Gibbons-Neff reported.