Syrian Army and Villagers Block US Patrol, Standoff and Gunfire Ensue, Russians Arrive to Defuse, Americans Leave

Syrian Army and Villagers Block US Patrol, Standoff and Gunfire Ensue, Russians Arrive to Defuse, Americans Leave by Marko Marjanović for Anti-Empire

A Syrian villager reportedly shot to death, Americans called in warplanes

Most of northeastern Syria is under the military control of the some 40,000 Kurdish YPG militias, but the area is as much Arab as it is Kurdish demographics-wise.

The Syrian government presence consists of a small enclave near the city of Qamishli and recently, as part of a deal with the Kurds, a limited number of Syrian troops returned to the border with Turkey for a joint defense against the northern neighbor.

It seems Arab settlements have been heartened by the return of their military so that a village just outside the Syrian government enclave at Qamishli likewise started blocking US forces from entering.

That’s less than 5 km from the Turkish border

Today US patrol tried driving through the pro-government village of Khirbet Amo and was stopped by its villagers and fighters, either local NDF (National Defense Force) guardsmen, or some of the newly arrived Syrian troops posted to the border.

What happened next is sketchy. A standoff ensued, some reports say the villagers stoned the US convoy and the Americans returned live fire, killing one of the villagers. The Pentagon says its troops were fired on first. Other reports say the Americans then called in an airstrike on the village, while some say the Americans merely called in the aircraft to circle over the village. What is certain is that eventually the Russians arrived and after a while longer the Americans withdrew.

— UPDATE — According to one timeline, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at and hit one of the US mine-resistant vehicles causing but the slightest damage. The US troops then opened fire killing one person, perhaps the cocktail thrower, or the nearest protesting villager. It was after this that they were themselves fired on. The singular US warplane overhead was dropping flare munitions rather than bombs. When all this took place the Russians were already on the scene trying to calm things down but weren’t entirely successful.

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