The Russian Military Police intercepted on May 2 a U.S. convoy heading to the city of al-Qamishli in northern al-Hasakah.
According to local sources, Russian forces blocked the road leading to the eastern entrance of al-Qamishli with several armored vehicles, preventing U.S. troops from entering the city.
U.S. forces brought in 15 armored vehicles from their bases in the area of al-Rmelan. Furthermore, coalition warplanes flew over al-Qamishli. Nevertheless, Russian forces stood their ground until an understanding was reached.
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The Russian move was likely a response to an earlier incident, in which U.S. forces blocked a routine patrol of Russian forces in the al-Rmelan oil fields in the northeastern countryside of al-Hasakah.
This was the first time the Russian Military Police intercepts U.S. forces in northeast Syria. In the last few months, U.S. forces worked to prevent Russian forces from patrolling oil fields in the region. In return, locals and government forces restricted the movement of U.S. forces around al-Qamishli.
Russia is working to solidify its presence in northeast Syria by deploying additional forces and building strong relations with local Arab tribes. The U.S. appears to be concerned by the Russian steps, as it is now trying to reclaim its influence in the region.