The U.S. Military will deploy reinforcements, including armored vehicles and fighter jet patrols, to Syria several weeks after an altercation between American and Russian ground patrol units, the U.S. Central Command announced Friday.
Around 100 troops will join over 500 U.S. service members in northeast Syria, Capt. Bill Urban of U.S. Central Command said in a statement, near Dayrick, Syria, where seven Americans were injured on Aug. 25 in a collision with Russian vehicles.
“These actions are a clear demonstration of U.S. resolve to defend Coalition forces in the (Eastern Syria Security Area), and to ensure that they are able to continue their Defeat-ISIS mission without interference,” Urban said.
“The United States does not seek conflict with any other nation in Syria, but will defend Coalition forces if necessary,” he added.
Video of the Aug. 25 altercation between Russian and American patrols shows cars speeding through a field before a Russian vehicle ran into an American vehicle. Two Russian helicopters flew low over the Americans, and U.S. airpower was not present, the New York Times reported.
“They [the Russian patrol] were in an area they were not supposed to be,” Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., head of U.S. Central Command, told reporters Sept. 9. “They were not in an area that they had received permission to go to. And their actions were frankly reckless at the tactical level.”
A longer video of the confrontation. US forces appear to be blocking a road and then attempt to block the path of the Russian patrol when they drive through the field. An American MaxxPro MRAP appears to collide with a Russian Typhoon-K MRAP. 319/https://t.co/iCliZSYVY9 pic.twitter.com/xZTtN6l0Ib
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) August 26, 2020
The incident violated an agreement reached in December 2019 to avoid conflict on the ground, the Times reported.
American and Russian officials disagreed on what caused the crash, the Times reported. Russian officials said the American patrol attempted to block the Russian patrol, while McKenzie said that the Russian patrol was not authorized to be in the area.
“And what saved the situation was the very good judgment of small unit U.S. Army commanders on the ground. And I’m just glad I got those kind of people out there making decisions,” McKenzie said.
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