US troops and pro-Syrian government militants clash, killing one Syrian

US troops and pro-Syrian government militants clash, killing one Syrian

U.S. troops clashed with a pro-government group of Syrians in northeastern Syria, resulting in the death of a Syrian, officials announced.

State-run media has reported the man that was killed was a civilian, among a crowd that was hurling stones at the U.S. convoy and taking down a U.S. flag from a vehicle. The U.S. troops responded by firing live ammunition at the militia, The Associated Press reported

The U.S. troops were a part of the Combined Joint Task Force for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), formed to prevent ISIS expansion in Syria and Iraq. OIR spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins III posted a statement saying U.S. troops were on patrol near Qamishli when they encountered pro-Syrian government forces.

ADVERTISEMENT

“After Coalition troops issued a series of warnings and de-escalation attempts, the patrol came under small arms fire from unknown individuals. In self-defense, Coalition troops returned fire,” he said in a statement. 

Caggins added that the situation “de-escalated” and is under investigation, while U.S. troops returned to base. 

The pro-Syrian government group reportedly attempted to block the U.S. troops from driving through a village east of Qamishli, the AP reported state media and activists said. U.S. troops patrol areas in northeastern Syria, but it is initially unclear why the group was in government-controlled territory.

Air Force Lt. Col. Carla Gleason said that no Americans were killed in the event, according to the AP.

The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said the U.S. convoy was able to withdraw from the village. During the encounter, pro-Syrian government protesters fired guns in the air before U.S. troops fired smoke bombs and eventually shot live ammunition, according to the observatory. The observatory said the shooting’s victim has not been identified as a civilian or government-backed militiaman.

The incident is a rare confrontation between U.S. troops and Syrian militants, as hundreds of U.S. forces are deployed in northeastern Syria to combat ISIS, the AP reported.