A United States Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesman has confirmed that a US military convoy in northeastern Syria, the Russian Sputnik news agency reported on Monday.
“On 3 November, a US patrol in northeast Syria witnessed several artillery attacks, shells landed a kilometer or more from the road it was moving on. The patrol was not touched,” the spokesman on Monday told Sputnik.
Emphasizing that the security of the troops is given priority, the CENTCOM spokesman added that US forces retain the inalienable right to self-defense.
The Russian Defense Ministry said in an earlier statement that the pro-Turkish militants attacked a US military convoy near the city of Tell Tamer in northeast Syria on Sunday, as it was moving toward the Iraqi border, Sputnik also reported.
Earlier, Major General Yuri Borenkov, head of the Russian Centre for the Reconciliation of Opposing Sides in Syria, said that Washington informed Moscow of the shelling of the US military on Sunday.
“Via de-confliction line [we received] information that a column of American troops moving on M4 road toward the Iraqi border, six kilometers west of Tell Tamer, came under fire from the territory controlled by pro-Turkish militants of the Free Syrian Army,” Sputnik reported Borenkov as saying.
A video posted by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) earlier in the day reportedly shows a convoy of American military moving toward the Iraqi border.
United States President Donald Trump announced early in October that US troops had begun pulling out from northern Syria to Iraq, which paved the way for Turkey’s military offensive in the region.
On October 9, Ankara launched “Operation Peace Spring” in northeastern Syria with a stated aim to clear the area of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which it sees as a threat near its border with Syria, and create a “safe zone” to resettle some two million refugees.
Turkey deems YPG a terrorist organization due to its connections to the Kurdish separatists in the country known as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed insurgent group that has been fighting against the Turkish state for Kurdish self-rule for decades.