Several U.S. service members were reportedly injured after their Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) was rammed by a Russian armored vehicle in Syria.
“At approximately 10 a.m. (Syria Time), August 25, a routine Defeat-ISIS Coalition security patrol encountered a Russian military patrol near Dayrick, in northeast Syria. During this interaction, a Russian vehicle struck a Coalition Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) causing injuries to the vehicle’s crew. To de-escalate the situation, the Coalition patrol departed the area,” U.S. National Security Council Spokesman John Ullyott said in a statement Wednesday.
While Ullyott’s statement did not reveal the number of personnel injured in the altercation, POLITICO reported earlier that four U.S. troops were diagnosed with mild concussion-like symptoms.
Videos of the scrimmage being widely circulated on social media appeared to show a Russian vehicle colliding into an American vehicle, and a Russian helicopter flying low over U.S. forces. The draft statement POLITICO reviewed, written by U.S. Central Command, reportedly said the Russian vehicle “intentionally rammed” into the coalition vehicle.
"Unsafe and unprofessional actions like this represent a breach of de-confliction protocols, committed to by the United States and Russia in December 2019," Ullyot said. "The Coalition and the United States do not seek escalation with any national military forces, but U.S. forces always retain the inherent right and obligation to defend themselves from hostile acts."
The U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Milley and the chief of Russia’s General Staff, General Valery Gerasimov, have held talks to discuss the unfortunate incident. "A telephone conversation was held at the level of the heads of the [US and Russian] Joint Chiefs of Staff," Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS.
Ten months ago, U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew American troops from Syria, leaving Kurdish forces bitter soon after, when Turkey launched an offensive against the militia. There are now roughly around American 500 troops in the north-eastern part of Syria.
Russian forces are being accused of encroaching U.S.-troop controlled Syrian regions, in their campaign to squeeze the U.S. military out of the region.