On Thursday, Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman told reporters that Russian forces in eastern Syria earlier this week "breached our deconfliction arrangement in Syria and injured US service members with their deliberately provocative and aggressive behavior.”
“We commend our personnel on the ground for deescalating this unfortunate encounter through professionalism and restraint, which are hallmarks of the US military,” Hoffman said. “We have advised the Russians that their behavior was dangerous and unacceptable. We expect a return to routine and professional deconfliction in Syria and reserve the right to defend our forces vigorously whenever their safety is put at risk.”
In Syria's al-Hasakah Governorate, Russian and American forces often find themselves patrolling the same roads, and encounters between them are often tense at best. During a Tuesday encounter near the town of al-Malikiyah, a Russian patrol approached a US roadblock and in the ensuring encounter, a collision between Russian and US vehicles left four US servicemembers with concussion-like injuries.
However, the narratives differ depending on which side you ask. Washington maintains the Russians gave chase as the American forces attempted to withdraw, but the Russian side, which has video footage to backup their claim, says the US forces attempted to block them from passing as well as from going around their position.
A similar incident occurred near the same town in June, and just last week, US forces opened fire on a Syrian Arab Army roadblock nearby outside the city of Qamishli, killing one Syrian soldier.