The reported incident comes just over a month after a similar ambush which led to the loss of a vehicle carrying US troops and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia, the predominantly Kurdish militia group which enjoys de facto control over part of northeast Syria. Several people were reported injured in that attack.
Three US soldiers and five members of the SDF militia have been injured in an attack on a convoy at the junction of the village of Rwaished (alternative spelling ‘Rouished’) along the administrative border between the provinces of al-Hasakah and Deir ez-Zor, SANA has reported, citing local sources.
The alleged attack is said to have been carried out by unidentified gunmen armed with automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade launchers, with the injured troops rushed to the US base at al-Shadadi, a town about 50 km south of the city of al-Hasakah.
The troops were ambushed during a joint patrol. No further information was provided regarding the extent of the injuries. The Pentagon has not commented on the alleged incident.
It’s not clear who may have been responsible for the attack, although the region is home to a dense concentration of competing armies and militias, from Turkish-backed militants fighting the SDF, to the remnants of the Daesh (ISIS)* terrorists, to Syrian Army units engaged in a tense standoff with US forces vying for control of the region’s oil and gas resources. The Turkish-backed forces reminded locals of their presence earlier this week after setting local wheat and barley fields on fire.
In the past two months, incidents between Syrian Army units and local villagers on one side and US forces on the other have remained mostly peaceful, consisting mostly of armed standoffs between US convoys attempting to drive along local roads, and Syrian troops and locals attempting to block their path.
Wednesday’s alleged incident follows a similar attack on April 20, when a US military vehicle was reportedly destroyed and several troops and SDF militia injured at the Rwaished junction. Before that, on April 6, a joint convoy of US and local forces was said to have been ambushed by unidentified militants in Deir ez-Zor, with one US service member and two militiamen killed.