Tensions grow between US, Russian forces in Northeast Syria
Thursday, 06 February, 2020, 20:50
A U.S. military patrol has blocked a Russian military convoy from using a main highway in northeast Syria amid growing tensions between the two sides, local reports said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor that has researchers inside the country, reported on Tuesday that U.S. forces didn’t allow Russian military vehicles to use a major road between two Kurdish-held towns in Syria’s northeast.
The Russian convoy was attempting to reach a border crossing between Syria and Iraq that is under the control of U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Observatory added.
After Turkish military and allied Syrian militias launched an offensive against SDF fighters in October 2019, Russia, a staunch supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, stepped in to increase its military presence in northeast Syria following a U.S. decision to withdraw troops from parts of the border area between Syria and Turkey.
After mounting pressure from the U.S. Congress and U.S. foreign allies, President Donald Trump decided to keep about 500 U.S. troops in the area to protect the region's oil fields, and prevent Islamic State and Syrian regime troops from accessing them.
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