Video has surfaced showing a U.S. Army Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) running a Russian armored vehicle off the side of a road in Syria after an apparent road rage incident.
The incident occurred in the Syrian town of Qamishli near the Turkish border and was captured on civilian video on Wednesday. The video, which appears to have been captured by a civilian vehicle also on the road showed a Russian convoy, civilian vehicles and a U.S. Army MRAP and another MRAP all sharing the same busy highway.
— Mohammad (@ibrashino) February 19, 2020
At one point, a Russian armored vehicle appeared to aggressively pass one of the U.S. Army MRAP on the right side shoulder of the road before it merged in between the U.S. vehicles and attempted to pass the second U.S. vehicle further up the road.
The U.S. MRAP moved to the left to block the Russian vehicle, which then swerved back to the right shoulder of the road. As the Russian vehicle swerved, the U.S. MRAP began to edge the Russian vehicle off the road, appearing to hit the Russian vehicle.
The road rage incident is one of several increasingly hostile and aggressive moments between U.S. and Russian forces in recent months in northeastern Syria. At points, U.S. forces have blocked Russian convoys and Russian backed troops from pushing into U.S. held areas.
Another reported incident last week involved a shootout that killed a Russian-backed Syrian fighter affiliated with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Wednesday’s road rage incident occurred near the same area where the shooting occurred, as reported by The Drive.
U.S. Military officials said the Russian vehicles did not follow established protocols for avoiding incidents like the one seen in the video.
“On Feb. 19, 2020, a Russian patrol violated the de-confliction protocols and did not adhere to the de-confliction measures, and was escorted out of the area of U.S. operations,” Col. Myles B. Caggins III, the spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve said in a statement to Military Times.
The Russian government has claimed that its forces helped resolve last week’s altercation, but video has emerged that conflicts with that claim. In it a Russian military policeman appears to embolden the crowd into shouting anti-American and pro-Assad slogans.
Phone-recorded video taken on 12th February 2020 in Kharbat-Amou near Qamishli in #Syria shows an Arabic-speaking Russian MP officer inciting & exhorting Syrian civilians to chant anti-American and pro-Assad slogans. pic.twitter.com/VffFakWjro
— Tough Strategy (@ToughStrategy) February 15, 2020
This latest incident appears to continue a trend where U.S. coalition and Russian-backed force operations have continued to intersect.
In October, President Donald Trump signaled the withdrawal of some U.S. forces from the Syrian-Turkish border region, ahead of a Turkish military offensive in the region. Russian-backed forces also quickly moved into the contested region and made videos of their takeover of an abandoned U.S. base.
U.S. forces have maintained some presence in Syria, as evidenced by the recent altercations. U.S. forces have been guarding Syrian oil fields it suspects could become a useful revenue stream for an ISIS resurgence campaign. Those U.S. forces have also held back Russian-backed efforts to seize the oil fields in 2018.