17:29 GMT +311 December 2019
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    This Tuesday, March 7, 2017 frame grab from video provided by Arab 24 network, shows U.S. forces patrol on the outskirts of the Syrian town, Manbij, a flashpoint between Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters and U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters, in al-Asaliyah village, Aleppo province, Syria

    US, Russia Forces in Eye Contact in Syria’s Manbij - Coalition

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    US Army rangers, who are on a deterrence mission in Syria’s Manbij, have been in visual contact with Russian forces in the area, US Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. John Dorrian said in a briefing on Wednesday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Monday, US Defense Department spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis said Russian and US ground forces in Manbij had not been very close.

    "Yes," Dorrian said when asked whether forces have been in eye contact in Syria’s Manbij.

    He added that the United States and Russia have increased communication through the existing deconfliction channel for operations in Syria.

    "The amount of coordination on that deconfliction channel continues to increase," Dorrian told reporters. "It went from many months ago just a few times a week to much more often as our forces converge."

    On March 6, the Defense Department said the United States had deployed a small number of additional troops to Manbij in a mission of reassurance and deterrence.

    Earlier in the day, a source told Sputnik that a US Marine Corps unit has arrived in northern Syria.

    Dorrian stated that the proximity of US and Russian forces is being worked out through the existing deconfliction channel and they try to avoid each other.

    "They are not talking to each other, they are not hanging out together," Dorrian noted.

    The spokesperson noted Russian servicemen, just like their American counterparts, place national flags on their vehicles.

    "This is just a measure of transparency on what our actions are to make sure that there is no mistake or miscalculation about who is there," Dorrian said.

    Davis also noted that the Defense Department does not provide the specific number of the additional troops.

    The marines will be supporting US partner forces on the ground that lead the offensive to liberate Raqqa from Daesh codenamed Operation Euphrates Rage. The operation was launched by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on November 5, 2016. The SDF was formed in 2015 as the defense force of northern Syria's de facto autonomous Rojava federation and is supported by the US-led coalition. The group is among the forces fighting Daesh and brings together Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian and Turkmen fighters, among others.

    The news comes after the Pentagon was tasked to send US President Donald Trump options to accelerate the fight against Daesh.

    Tags:
    anti-Daesh coalition, Operation Inherent Resolve, US Department of Defense (DoD), John Dorrian, Manbij, Syria, United States, Russia
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