An unlikely road meeting of US and Syrian troops was captured in northern Syria as the American vehicles were retreating from the Kurdish-held town of Kobani, while the Syrians rushed to protect it from the Turkish-led offensive.
Getting American and Syrian government forces into a single image is quite a difficult task despite the protracted – and illegal – US military presence in the war-torn country. Nonetheless, RT’s video agency Ruptly managed to snap a rare shot at a highway between northern Syrian towns of Tabaqqa and Kobani.
The short clip from the scene shows a US military convoy of several armored vehicles leaving the border town of Kobani. A Syrian military unit, transported on apparently less fancy vehicles, is seen heading towards the town.
It was not immediately clear if the servicemen somehow reacted to seeing one another, as both parties seemed to be in a rush.
The US military has been withdrawing from northeast Syria following the orders by President Donald Trump, issued last Monday. The withdrawal has been sped up by the Turkish-led military operation against the Kurdish militia, one-time ally of the US, that incidentally heads the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) controlling around one-third of Syria’s territory. Washington used the SDF as a ground force in the fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS).
Ankara regards Kurdish militia groups as terrorists over links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging insurgency in Turkey’s southeast for decades, ultimately seeking secession from the country. However, the Turkish incursion into Syria, which aims to establish a 30-km wide “safe zone” and plant previously displaced refugees and Ankara-backed Islamist rebel groups there, was not met with open arms by Damascus.
After apparently striking a deal with the Kurds, the Syrian Army said it was moving in to secure the strategic border area and entered the towns of Qamishli and Manbij. Kobani, once famously besieged by ISIS, is likely to become a hotspot of conflict again due to its position right on the Syrian-Turkish border.
Moscow on Monday said it never approved of the occupation of Kobani in security discussions with Ankara, with the Defense Ministry dismissing reports that such a question was ever brought up.