According to the Pentagon, US and Russian generals have held a face-to-face meeting this week about trying to avoid accidental conflict within Syria, with both sides are finding their forces increasingly in close proximity, and with contrary agendas.
According to spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon, both sides “laid down maps and graphics” suggesting an unusual increase in information sharing between the two sides. This comes amid warnings from Russia that they’re prepared to retaliate against US troops if provoked.
It’s not just a theoretical problem either. Russian officials warn that twice in recent days their troops have come under fire from US-backed Kurdish forces, including a time when mortars were fired at them from a position held by US troops.
The US offered no details on either of these incidents. US officials had, however, accused Syrian forces of attacking the Kurdish forces a few weeks ago. Both Russia and the US have tried to avoid direct conflict within Syria, but both view it at least in part as a proxy war against the other, risking such incidents leading to direct fighting.