U.S. Troops in Standoffs With Russian Military Contractors in Syria

WASHINGTON—Russian staff are engaging in tense standoffs with U.S. troops on highways in northeastern Syria in violation of agreements between Washington and Moscow to keep out of 1 another’s way in the war-ravaged country, the leading U.S. envoy to Syria claimed Wednesday.

Images circulating on social media have demonstrated U.S. military services vans blocking civilian vehicles that nearby journalist say are carrying Russian contractors on the highways. The encounters haven’t involved the use of drive but hazard escalating into a far more major clash between U.S. and Russian forces.

Leading U.S. envoy

James Jeffrey

confirmed these types of standoffs have been occurring in northeast Syria with escalating frequency. Some have taken spot deep in spots patrolled by U.S. and Kurdish forces, in which Russian contractors aren’t expected to go.

“These are not day-to-day occurrences, but they have been escalating in range, and thus it is troubling,” Mr. Jeffrey informed reporters in this article on Wednesday.

The incidents are elevating fears in Washington about the hazard of a clash between the two big powers as Russia-backed Syrian troops escalate an offensive on the final remaining rebel enclaves in Idlib province, residence to about three million individuals, which includes a lot of displaced from other sections of Syria.

Some U.S. military services officers in the Middle East have described the encounters as far more recurrent, expressing roadside confrontations between U.S. and Russian forces are happening day-to-day and, from time to time, quite a few periods a working day.

Mr. Jeffrey claimed Russia appeared to be producing the incursions “to problem our existence in the northeast.” He referred to as on Moscow to regard the deconfliction agreements negotiated with the U.S. to avoid clashes between the two countries’ forces in Syria.

“The professionalism of the troops on the ground, beginning with our troops, is these types of that these incidents have not escalated. But, of program, any commander would be worried about this,” Mr. Jeffrey claimed.

President Trump requested a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria in Oct. So significantly, U.S. troop numbers in Syria have dropped from about 1,000 to 600, Pentagon figures exhibit.

U.S. forces continue on to patrol the northeast along with Kurdish troops and to guard oil fields underneath Kurdish regulate. U.S. protection officers claimed even though there has been no major confrontation between the two sides, Russia is seeing to evaluate how the U.S. reacts.

Russian officers didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Mr. Jeffrey also claimed Russia was making use of its veto at the United Nations to block global support deliveries to northwest Syria, in which some 2.8 million individuals are dependent on these types of support. The U.N. claimed final 7 days that 400,000 health-related objects have been held up at the border in Iraq because an arrangement governing the transfer hadn’t been renewed, threatening to aggravate the disaster.

“The most urgent will need is to shield the civilian inhabitants and to scale up the humanitarian reaction,” Mark Lowcock, the U.N.’s crisis relief