A Syrian died when US Troops fired at a crowd of pro-government residents after they tried blocking a U.S. convoy from passing through a checkpoint in north east Syria, Syria’s state news agency and activists report.
Sana, the state run media, claims the man killed was a resident of Qamishli, a town nearby where the U.S. military spokesman said coalition forces encountered a checkpoint occupied by pro-Syrian government forces while conducting a patrol.
Coalition troops issued “a series of warnings and de-escalation attempts” and then came under small-arms fire from unknown individuals, coalition spokesman Myles Caggins said. Coalition troops returned fire in self-defense and to de-escalate, and are currently under investigation, according to the Associated Press.
— OIR Spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins III (@OIRSpox) February 12, 2020
American troops are stationed in northeast Syria and working with local partners from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in a fight against ISIS. American presence in north east Syria has faced complications since October, when the Trump administration announced a troop withdrawal and Turkey launched an incursion into north east Syria, forcing Kurdish SDF fighters to pull back from Syrian border areas they controlled. (Related: Turkey Launches Ground And Air Assault Against Kurdish Fighters, Killing AT Least Seven)
“The American occupation soldiers fired live bullets and smoke bombs on the locals as a civilian from the village of Khirbet Ammo was martyred while another civilian from Hamou village was injured,” the Sana reporter added.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a U.K.-based monitoring group, said residents and armed pro-government militiamen in Khirbet Ammo blocked the path of the U.S. convoy, and the militia fired in the air, to which the U.S. troops responded by firing smoke bombs and then killed one person. The Observatory adds that it’s not clear whether the person killed was a civilian or militia member, and that a Russian convoy arrived to defuse the situation, according to ABC News.