Despite the possibility of such incidents starting a huge regional war, Pentagon officials have been very willing to talk up a past incident of killing a large number of Russian military contractors working for the Syrian government.
It was an isolated incident, for now, but Defense Secretary James Mattis reports that in the past week, the US almost killed another group of Russians along the Euphrates River. This was only prevented by a last minute intervention by the Russian military through a hotline.
The Euphrates River is supposed to be the deconfliction line between the two factions, but in some places, the Syrian government’s zone does give them both sides of the river. Since these lines aren’t all posted with signs on the ground, it’s easy for troops to get mixed up and stray across the zone some places. The US response was going to be to kill them all with airstrikes, as they had in the past.
The incident was related to the movement of the contractors through an area along the river. The movement was apparently approved in advance, but US officials changed their mind when they decided the Russians were getting too close to oil fields held by Kurdish forces.
Russia’s top military leader, Gen. Gerasimov called on the hotline, and he got both the Russian contractors to withdraw back across the line, and for the US-backed troops in the area to back away temporarily, and more importantly to not kill anyone.
This is likely to be an issue until President Trump’s promised withdrawal. US and Russian forces are in close proximity, and the Pentagon is given free rein to operate, which means they can strike on virtually any pretext.
6 thoughts on “Mattis: US Nearly Attacked Russians in Syria Again Last Week”
No offense but the linked story gives a different account, one where Dunford called Gerasimov.
at least the link worked – this time…
No, Gerasimov told Dunford about the expected US action, said it was a CIA, not a Pentagon matter, and Dunford sensibly acted on the info. Perhaps Pompeo was a bit confused by this time!!
Any adults left in the military? Let’s just talk casually about starting a war, and then be sbocked when misiles start flying. Morans.
2 sides to a coin. I would think the Russians will strike back in force should the USA make another mistake. Lot of US stuff in the black sea for the Russians to blow up as well.
The USA has absolutely no right to be in Syria at all (the Russians are invited in as allies of the elected Syrian government) yet they not only stay, interfere and murder Syrians and Russian but have the gall to pretend the Russians are interfering with their “elections” . They then join in the mad rush to expel Russian diplomats on a false flag completely unsubstantiated incident in the UK. I know that the USA does not care about diplomacy, but its military behavior also leaves much to be desired.
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