On January 18, U.S. forces blocked a convoy of the Russian Military Police in the northeastern countryside of Syria’s al-Hasakah.
The Hawar News Agency (ANHA) said that Russian forces were conducting a “routine patrol” near the city of Rmelan when they were intercepted by a U.S. unit that blocked the road with at least two armored vehicles.
“Russian patrols usually take dirt roads in the area north of the district of Karakiye [Rmelan] along the Turkish border, but because of the rain and the closure of dirt roads, the Russian patrol was forced to take the main road between Karaky and Dirk, However, an American patrol intercepted its path and prevented it from moving on, which halted the traffic on the public road,” the ANHA’s reporter said, explaining the causes of the incident.
The ANHA claiemd that officials of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) intervened to prevent any tension and de-escalated the situation. However, it is unclear how the group that cannot even protect itself from the limited Turkish military operation can influence US or Russian actions in the region by ‘intervening’ in the situation.
Following the incident, the Russian patrol returned to the city of Qamishli, while U.S. forces reopened the road. Most likely, Russian forces just received an order to not move further into the area in order to avoid additional tensions with US forces deployed there. The presence of both US and Russian forces in the same area requires a rational flexibility of approaches if they want to avoid additional tensions on the ground.
A day earlier, a Russian convoy passed through a U.S. checkpoint in northern al-Hasakah without any problems.
Russia and the U.S. maintain a communication channel to prevent any contact between their forces in Syria. However, the coordination between the two side remains very limited as for now, mainly due to political reasons.