The US has blamed Russian troops after a collision of military vehicles in Syria injured several American soldiers.
According to news reports, a Russian armoured vehicle allegedly hit a US military car in north-eastern Syria earlier this week fuelling tensions between the two countries.
The incident injured seven US soldiers, but all of them later resumed their duties, Politico reported.
Pentagon criticised Russian forces’ ‘aggressive behaviour’ and said that the collision violated the deconfliction arrangement in Syria.
Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said: “We commend our personnel on the ground for de-escalating this unfortunate encounter through professionalism and restraint, which are hallmarks of the US military.
“We have advised the Russians that their behaviour was dangerous and unacceptable. We expect a return to routine and professional deconfliction in Syria and reserve the right to defend our forces vigorously whenever their safety is put at risk.”
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The US military statements, which came two days after the incident, are significantly different from the Russian standpoint on the incident.
According to a Facebook post by the Russian Embassy in the US, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Milley and the chief of Russia’s General Staff, General Valery Gerasimov discussed the incident over the phone.
During the conversation, Gerasimov accused the US side of breaching existing agreements. He told Milley that the US servicemen tried to block the Russian patrol despite prior communication about the movement to the commanders of the International antiterrorist coalition.
The Russian patrol ‘took every step necessary to prevent the incident and proceed with its mission’.
The US and Russia have established deconfliction arrangements to prevent engagement in the war-torn region of Syria. The commanders of the two armies also communicate regularly to prevent tensed contacts.