A US military M-ATV mine-resistant vehicle ran a Russian Tigr armored utility vehicle off the road in northeast Syria, according to a video published by a Syrian civilian. It is unclear when exactly the video was recorded.
A camera inside an apparently civilian vehicle captured the incident that reportedly took place near the town of Qamishli, near the Turkish border, according to The Drive.
#US army vehicle pushes #Russia police vehicle off the road, today, eastern Qamishli NE #Syria. pic.twitter.com/X5RNPyqafL— Mohammad (@ibrashino) February 19, 2020
A Russian convoy consisting of three vehicles was driving behind two American military when one the Russian Tigr attempted to pass the American vehicles on the right, going off road and then wedging itself between the two American vehicles. The M-ATV responded by attempting to block the Russians from passing any further and then driving them off the road. The two vehicles may have hit at one point.
A civilian bystander can be seen leaping out of the way of the Tigr just in time to avoid being hit. The Russian and American vehicles came to a stop as the civilian vehicle drove by.
Tensions have been high between Russian, Syrian, American and Turkish forces in Syria in recent months, especially as clashes broke out between Syria and Turkey.
Last week, a Syrian civilian was killed and another wounded as American and Syrian forces clashed near Qamishli, around the same area where the video was reportedly recorded, according to the Syrian state news agency SANA.
The incident began after Syrian Armed Forces soldiers prevented four US vehicles from crossing a road near the village of Khirbet Ammo. Hundreds of local residents gathered in the area to help prevent the vehicles from crossing, and the American forces opened fire on the civilians, killing one and injuring another. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) described the Syrians involved in the incident as armed Assad regime loyalists.
The villagers damaged four of the American armored vehicles, and the US forces called in reinforcements including five additional armored vehicles to evacuate the damaged vehicles and soldiers.
In Bweir al-Bouassi, another nearby village, locals blocked the passage of US armored vehicles and pelted them with rocks. Several young men climbed on top of one of the vehicles and removed the US flag from it.
Later, the US carried out airstrikes on Khirbet Ammo, according to SANA. “Direct clashes with light weapons” broke out between residents of Khirbet Ammo and the American forces. The forces subsequently withdrew from the village under the cover of US aircraft. Russian forces arrived in the area to help break up the clashes, according to SOHR. Russia claims that its soldiers were directly responsible for resolving the incident in Khirbet Ammo, but video released since shows a Russian military policeman urging the civilian crowd to shout anti-American and pro-Assad slogans, according to The Drive.
In December, American and Russian troops brawled in Tell Tamer in northeast Syria, according to the SOHR.
Russian forces were present in the area at the same time as US troops and when the two parties met it devolved into a fist fight, "due to their presence in the same area," according to SOHR.
The American troops were in the area with an interpreter to get to know the opinions of local residents. According to SOHR, all the people described the US forces as traitors.
Tell Tamer was one of the cities that US troops withdrew from after a decision by President Donald Trump. Syrian troops entered the town after the Syrian government reached an agreement with the Kurdish-led forces controlling the region to deploy into the area to counter an attack by Turkey. Residents of the Christian community in Tell Tamer are threatened by Turkish-backed Syrian militias who caused many Christians to flee towns near the Turkish border after the US withdrawal.
Reuters and Seth J. Frantzman contributed to this report.