Amid increasing tense encounters between American and Russian military convoys in northeast Syria, which in at least one recent encounter ended in a ramming incident, additional US mechanized infantry units have been ordered into Syria on Friday, including Bradley Fighting Vehicles.
“CJTF-OIR plans to position mechanized infantry assets, including Bradley Fighting Vehicles, to Syria to ensure the protection of Coalition forces and preserve their freedom of movement so they may continue Defeat Daesh operations safely,” the Pentagon said in a press release.
Ostensibly the counter-ISIS mission was offered as the prime rationale, but it's clear it has more to do with the ratcheting cat-and-mouse encounters between US and Russian forces, which could at any moment result in an exchange of fire incident.
Ironically Trump at the same time told White House reporters that "we are out of Syria" but troops only remain solely with a mission of "guarding the oil."
Following recent collisions b/n #US & #Russia/n troops in east of #Euphrates,US military now opts to accompany RU mil convoys from the air.The latest encounter feats 2 AH-64 Apaches flying over RU mil police in #Syria's Hasakah. RU military said it deems the moves as provocations pic.twitter.com/NrFwFMhhwj— Maxim A. Suchkov (@m_suchkov) September 16, 2020
Meanwhile Russia is appearing to get more involved in determining the future political fate of Syria, as reported by The New Arab this week:
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's visit to Syria last week has been interpreted as another turning point in Moscow-Damascus relations that could have fundamental implications for Bashar Al-Assad's rule, analysts have said.
Post-meeting comments made by the Russian delegation -
headed by Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov - appeared in conjunction with the Syrian regime's own uncompromising stance towards the opposition.
Amid a rapidly deteriorating economic situation given far-reaching US-led sanctions, Moscow apparently wants to arrive at a final political solution fast, ensuring stability but in a way that might end Damascus' international isolation in order to revive the economy.
Syrian Sanctions are beginning to bite— Joshua Landis (@joshua_landis) September 19, 2020
Gasoline in Syria in short supply. This line of cars has formed in Tartus on the coast. Imports have been targeted by sanctions and Syrian oil has been impounded by US order. https://t.co/aQp4ZjrXjn
"Russia has now thrown its weight behind the UN supported Syrian Constitutional Committee, which involves members of the regime, opposition, and civil society and viewed as perhaps the best solution on offer to ending the war," The New Arab report concludes.