US soldiers were injured in northeastern Syria earlier in the week after Russian forces "struck" a vehicle and injured the crew inside, a US official said Wednesday.
A routine Defeat-ISIS Coalition Security Patrol encountered a Russian military patrol in northeast Syria, National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot said in a statement to Al Arabiya English.
Ullyot confirmed previous reports that a Russian vehicle struck the Coalition vehicle “causing injuries to the vehicle’s crew.”
So the Fighter Bomber Instagram channel that posted this video claims the Russian Mi-8AMTSh helicopter in this video was hovering over American forces, presumably to try to disperse them or force them to move. 318/https://t.co/0iBHe4GlnT pic.twitter.com/LDebd2HlLP— Rob Lee (@RALee85) August 26, 2020
The Coalition patrol then left the area “to de-escalate the situation,” Ullyot said.
A video circulated across social media Wednesday showing what appeared to be Russian helicopters flying at low altitudes near US armored vehicles.
About 500 US troops remain in northern Syria after a sharp reduction in troops that were initially there to drive out ISIS militants from all of their strongholds in the country.
“Unsafe and unprofessional actions like this represent a breach of de-confliction protocols, committed to by the United States and Russia in December 2019,” he added.
In an apparent warning over future incidents such as Tuesday’s, Ullyot said US forces always retain the “inherent right and obligation to defend themselves from hostile acts.”
- With Reuters