On October 21, service members of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) intercepted a convoy of the US-led coalition near a checkpoint in the outskirts of the town of Damkhiyah Sghirah in al-Hasakah’s northern countryside.
The Syrian troops prevented the US convoy, which consisted of five armored vehicles, from entering the town. Eventually, the convoy retreated.
This was not the first such encounter. Over the last two years, locals, pro-government fighters and SAA soldiers in northeastern Syria intercepted dozens of US-led coalition patrols. In very few cases, clashes broke out. Nevertheless, the situation never developed into a full-on confrontation.
US-backed forces in northeastern Syria, led by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), have been also attempting to restrict the movement of Russian forces in the region.
On the same day as the Damkhiyah Sghirah encounter, local fighters of the US-backed Deir Ezzor Military Council, a branch of the SDF, prevented a patrol of the Russian Military Police from entering the town of al-Jininah in the western countryside of Deir Ezzor.
The recent incidents reflect the fragile situation in northeastern Syria, where US forces maintain minimum coordination with the Russian Military Police.
The situation will not likely improve in the near future. At the same time, a serious confrontation between the different powers in northeastern Syria seems highly unlikely.