Russian and U.S. forces have faced off for what could be the fourth time in less than two weeks in oil-rich northeastern Syria, the local Kurdish news outlet Anha reported Saturday.
Video of the reported standoff in the Hasakah province showed a Russian-flagged armored vehicle and what appeared to be two U.S. Army armored vehicles standing on a highway off-ramp.
Following the “skirmish” at the entrance to the town of Tal Tamr — which lies on a highway to the region’s key oilfields — the U.S. and Russian convoys reportedly headed in different directions.
Russian helicopters and U.S. warplanes flew over Tal Tamr half an hour after the incident, Anha reported. The outlet did not say how long the standoff lasted.
American troops have blocked a Russian convoy from accessing oil fields at least four times in the past eight days, Turkey’s Daily Sabah newspaper reported Sunday. U.S. troops also “blocked” a Russian military patrol from accessing an oilfield in the Hasakah town of Rmelan on Jan. 18.
The latest standoff took place two days after Kurdish forces similarly prevented Russian troops from passing through a major city to establish a military zone near the Rmelan oilfield, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency reported.
Commenting on that incident, a top U.S.-led coalition commander said “the Russians are always testing us,” Anadolu reported Thursday.
U.S. and Russian forces maintain bases in northeastern Syria.
The two countries have experienced “hiccups” in their military deconfliction efforts in Syria, James Jeffrey, the U.S. special envoy for Syrian engagement and the anti-Islamic State coalition, said Thursday.
Russia has waged an air and sea campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since 2015 as Moscow’s Middle East ally has grappled with a years-long civil war. The U.S.-led coalition deployed in the war-torn country in 2014.