U.S. Sending More Troops to Syria to Counter the Russians

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WASHINGTON — The navy mentioned on Friday that it was sending Bradley preventing automobiles, superior radar and extra fighter jet patrols to northeast Syria, three weeks after a Russian armored vehicle rammed an American floor patrol and injured seven American troopers.

The reinforcements, which add about 100 troops to the greater than 500 U.S. forces already there, characterize a present of power in response to the conflict final month that caught American commanders off guard. They’re additionally prone to escalate tensions between the 2 rival powers within the nation’s hotly contested northeast.

“These actions are a clear demonstration of U.S. resolve to defend coalition forces,” Capt. Invoice City, a spokesman for the navy’s Central Command, mentioned in an electronic mail, “and to ensure that they are able to continue their defeat-ISIS mission without interference.”

The brand new deployment got here on the identical day that President Trump declared that American troops “are out of Syria,” besides to protect the area’s oil fields. “Other than that, we are out of Syria,” Mr. Trump mentioned at White Home information convention, making no point out of what the Pentagon says is the primary mission there: to assist its Syrian Kurdish allies struggle remnants of the Islamic State.

The deployment features a handful of Bradley preventing automobiles — the identical that have been dispatched for a month to the region last fall — in addition to Sentinel radars to trace Russian helicopters, and elevated fighter jet and Apache helicopter gunship patrols to assist American floor forces. It has been within the works because the altercation in Syria revealed the most recent Russian check of American navy resolve in the region and around the world.

Democrats instantly seized on the episode as the most recent instance of Mr. Trump’s failure to problem Russia’s rising aggressions towards the West, together with interfering on this 12 months’s basic election and putting bounties on American troops in Afghanistan.

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, in a speech in Pennsylvania on Aug. 31, rebuked Mr. Trump for failing to publicly deal with the altercation in Syria: “Did you hear the president say a single word? Did he lift one finger?”

The newest bother began on Aug. 25 throughout what the Pentagon known as a routine American patrol close to Dayrick, Syria.

Russian navy personnel have increasingly had run-ins with U.S. troops on highways within the area, breaking agreements between the 2 international locations to avoid one another, American officers say. The USA withdrew from much of that area final fall earlier than a Turkish cross-border offensive.

Videos of the August encounter that later emerged on Twitter appeared to point out Russian and American automobiles dashing in an open discipline, with a Russian automobile smashing into an American automobile, and two Russian helicopters buzzing low over U.S. forces uncontested by American air energy.

The skirmish set off a confrontation and finger-pointing between the 2 sides.

A White Home spokesman known as the Russian actions “unsafe and unprofessional” and a violation of a December 2019 settlement to keep away from clashes on the bottom. Congressional Democrats and Republicans and even some former Trump national security aides criticized the White Home response as woefully insufficient.

The following day, Pentagon and U.S. Central Command officers issued harder statements, condemning the Russian motion. Seven American troopers have been handled for concussionlike signs at their base in Syria and returned to responsibility quickly after.

The U.S. navy’s account contrasted sharply with the Russian model of occasions. In a cellphone name with Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Workers, shortly after the episode, Gen. Valery V. Gerasimov, the Russian chief of the final workers, mentioned that American troops tried to dam a Russian patrol “in breach of the existing agreements,” in line with a Facebook post from the Russian Embassy.

Normal Gerasimov informed Normal Milley that U.S. troops tried to dam the Russian patrol, which “took every step necessary to prevent the incident and proceed with its mission,” a characterization American officers rejected.

In an interview final week with The New York Occasions and two different information organizations, Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the pinnacle of the Central Command, continued responsible the Russians.

“They were in an area they were not supposed to be,” he mentioned. “They were not in an area that they had received permission to go to. And their actions were frankly reckless at the tactical level.”

Normal McKenzie mentioned American officers in the course of the fray prevented an escalation. No pictures have been fired. “What saved the situation was the very good judgment of small unit U.S. Army commanders on the ground,” he mentioned. “I’m just glad I got those kind of people out there making decisions.”

Normal McKenzie mentioned in one other interview final week that tensions with the Russians in Syria had eased for the second, however he foreshadowed the reinforcements introduced on Friday. “Their behavior has been better,” he told NBC News. “I don’t want to judge or project what it might be in the future. But I would simply tell you that we are ready for all eventualities in Syria and the force has what it needs to protect itself.”

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