US and Russia Collide During ‘Road Rage’ Incident in Syria

August 27th, 2020 - by Jason Ditz / & Jared Keller / Task and Purpose

US vehicle was blocking road when Russian patrol tried to pass

US Claims Four Troops Injured as US, Russian Vehicles Collide in Syria

Jason Ditz /

 (August 26, 2020) — On Tuesday, media were speculating about what would happen if US and Russian forces had a confrontation in Syria. Early Wednesday, an incident happened on the road near Dayrick, where US and Russian vehicles collided, injuring four US soldiers.

Reports are that a US Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) All-Terrain Vehicle was blocking a road when a Russian MRAP convoy tried to pass. A video of the incident showed one fairly minor-looking collision.

Details are still emerging. No Russian casualties were reported, and four US soldiers were reported to have mild, concussion-like symptoms. US officials described the collision as a “side-swiping,” though the video showed very little contact.

US officials suggested Russia violated deescalation protocols. Russia has largely not commented on the matter publicly. With both forces active in northeastern Syria, there is always a risk of confrontations like that.

US and Russian Military Vehicles Collide in Syria, Injuring American Troops

Video: In an earlier confrontation, US troops blocked a Russian convoy in Syria

Jared Keller / Task and Purpose

(August 26, 2020) — New video appears to capture a collision between US and Russian military vehicles that left several US service members injured in an apparent escalation of the undeclared road war between the two countries playing out in northeastern Syria. 

The video, which is shot from the perspective of the Russian military, appears to show US military Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) vehicles blocking a road near Dayrick in northeastern Syria on Tuesday as a Russian convoy attempts to pass through the area on patrol.

Roughly halfway through the short video, one of the Russian Typhoon-K MRAPs appears to collide with the front of a US M-ATV prompting the American operators to lean on the horn in protest.

National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot confirmed the details of the incident in a statement to Task & Purpose, noting that the collision “caus[ed] injuries to the vehicle’s crew.”

Politico reports that four troops were diagnosed with “mild concussion-like symptoms.”

“Unsafe and unprofessional actions like this represent a breach of deconfliction protocols, committed to by the United States and Russia in December 2019,” Ullyot said. “The Coalition and the United States do not seek escalation with any national military forces, but US forces always retain the inherent right and obligation to defend themselves from hostile acts.”

The encounter represents the latest skirmish between US and Russian military vehicles in northeastern Syria.

In February, a video emerged of a US armored truck running the lead vehicle in a Russian military convoy off of a stretch of road near the Turkish border town of Qamishli.

In June, a video shared to Twitter by freelance journalist Mohammed Hassan appeared to show several US M-ATVs trying to box in a Russian armored vehicle somewhere in northeastern Syria.

Then, in July, a video shared by former US special envoy Brett McGurk showed an encounter between US M-ATVs and Russian vehicles in the Syrian town of Al Hasakah during which a Russian commander reportedly berated a US service member for following them.

“The encounters happen a few times each month and, thus far, have been resolved without escalation,” OIR spokesman Army Col. Myles Caggins previously told Task & Purpose in July.

“With Russia, Coalition forces work to de-conflict our movements through pre-existing communication channels, in order to prevent unnecessary and unplanned military interactions, and to de-escalate between forces when necessary,” he added.

The US military currently has about 600 troops in northeast Syria and roughly another 150 service members at the Al Tanf Garrison as part of its ongoing campaign to vanquish ISIS in the country.

There are still more than 10,000 ISIS fighters currently active in Iraq and Syria, according to a recent UN estimate.


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