Syrian army troops block US convoy in Hasakah, force it to move back

A US military convoy has been forced to retreat from an area in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah after government soldiers blocked its way, amid rising popular anger at the deployment of foreign occupying forces in the oil-rich region.

Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that Syrian army troops, deployed at a security checkpoint, blocked the road and prevented the movement of the US armored vehicles as they were heading towards Umm al-Khair village, which lies west of Tal Tamr town, on Wednesday.

The American troops were subsequently forced to turn around and go back in the direction they came from. There were no reports of clashes or injuries.

Since late October 2019, the US has been redeploying troops to the oil fields controlled by Kurdish forces in eastern Syria, in a reversal of President Donald Trump’s earlier order to withdraw all troops from the Arab country.

The Pentagon claims the move aims to “protect” the fields and facilities from possible attacks by the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group. That claim came although Trump had earlier suggested that Washington sought economic interests in controlling the oil fields.

Syria, which has not authorized American military presence in its territory, has condemned the US, saying it is “plundering” the country’s oil.

The presence of US forces in eastern Syria has particularly irked the civilians, and local residents have on several occasions stopped American military convoys entering the region.  

Earlier this month, US military forces shot and killed a civilian in Syria’s eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr.

SANA said the victim was driving along a highway when he veered off the road near the Koniko oil field in the eastern countryside of the province.

The incident prompted US forces to open fire, killing the unidentified Syrian civilian on the spot.

Unidentified drone attacks military vehicle in northwestern Syria

Separately, an unidentified drone has attacked a military vehicle south of a northwestern Syrian city seized by Turkish military forces and their allied militants more than two years ago.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the unmanned aerial vehicle targeted the car near the city of Afrin, located more than 40 kilometers (24 miles) north of Aleppo, on Thursday afternoon, killing all those onboard.

The Britain-based war monitor did not provide any information about the identity of those inside the destroyed vehicle, as the bodies have reportedly been charred beyond recognition.

In March 2018, the Turkish military and allied Syria militants took control of Afrin after a two-month-long ground offensive, which dislodged the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militants from the Syrian city.

Ankara views the YPG as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) that has been fighting for an autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984.


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