The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Powers and influence in NE Syria: Tension and skirmishes flare up between U.S. and Russian forces

Syrian Observatory activists monitored a state of tension continuing between the U.S. forces and their Russian counterpart. Each side tries to impose its influence over the area and the strategic highway of Al-Haskah – Aleppo in particular.

Recently, tension escalated widely and daily skirmishes occurred between both parties. Also the U.S. forces stopped Russian patrols in several areas.

Reliable sources informed the Observatory that U.S. forces were deployed at the entrances and exits of the strategic town of Tal Tamr which is a link between Al-Hasakah – Al-Qamishli – Aleppo. They were also deployed at the entrance of Abu Rasin (Zarkan) and the junction in Ghabish village, and ran many patrols on Aleppo – Al-Hasakah highway aka “M4”.

These actions come as a part of the U.S. attempts to undermine the Russian role in NE Syria, and prevent the Russians from using the M4 highway in the area, except when heading to the border areas with Turkey.

Yesterday, activists told SOHR that a U.S. patrol stopped a Russian one in Mustafawiyah village of Al-Malikiyah (Dayrik) in Al-Hasakah countryside, and prevented it from reaching Smilka border crossing.

On Saturday, U.S. forces intercepted a Russian patrol in Tal Fukhar village while the patrol was heading to the countryside of Al-Malikiyah city (Dayrik). According to SOHR sources, the Russian patrol has been stopped for two hours which caused traffic jam on the road, before SDF mediated between both forces. After that, the Russian patrol continued its way to Al-Malikiyah countryside, while the U.S. forces headed to Rumaylan base.

It is noteworthy that the Russian forces used to take dirt roads, but this time they took the highway because of the bad weather.

On 17th of January, a column of the Russian forces of about 40 cars was heading towards Tal Tamr town in al-Hasakah countryside when an American patrol intercepted the Russian patrol, which caused a state of tension between both parties ended with the departure of the Russian forces which headed towards Ayn Issa town, after mediation by the Syria Democratic Forces.

The Syrian Observatory monitored on the 14th of January 2020 that a U.S. patrol stopped a Russian patrol at Hittin junction on the road between Al-Hasakah and Al-Qamishly. An altercation took place between both parties ended with the return of the Russian patrol after being prevented from continuing its way on the M4 Highway.