U.S. forces have prevented the Russian Military Police from reaching an oil-rich area in northeastern Syria for the third time this week.
According to several sources, a patrol of the Russian Military Police was moving on January 21 from the border city of Qamishli towards the area of Rmelan, where one of Syria’s biggest oil field is located. Several U.S. armored vehicles intercepted the patrol, blocking the M4 highway.
The Anadolu Agency’s reporter in northeastern al-Hasakah said that the situation didn’t escalate, as the Russian patrol returned to Qamishli after waiting for around an hour.
However, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) claimed that Russian and U.S. service members engaged in a brawl and went on to aim their rifles at each other. These claims are likely ordinary fake news.
On January 18 and 20, U.S. forces blocked two patrols by the Russian Military Police on the way to Rmelan.
Officials of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are working with both sides in northeast Syria, claimed that they helped de-escalate the incidents.
Russian forces have been dealing with these provocations with a high level of patient, most likely upon direct orders from their leadership. This could be related to Russia’s efforts to de-escalate tensions with the United States on the international level.