US and Russian military forces have clashed a dozen times in Syria, including instances of gun battles, said an American envoy involved in the illegal US intrusion into the Arab country, without elaborating on specifics.
US Special Representative for Syria Engagement, Ambassador James Jeffrey, made the remarks when asked during an interview with Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti to clarify casualty figures and details of a February gun battle in which American forces reportedly killed as many as 200 pro-Syria forces who had launched a failed attack on a base held by US troops and their local Kurdish allies near the eastern town of Deir al-Zour.
“US forces are legitimately in Syria, supporting local forces in the fight against Daesh and as appropriate — and this has occurred about a dozen times in one or another place in Syria — they exercise the right of self-defense when they feel threatened,” Jeffrey further claimed in the interview as cited in a Saturday report by the US-based military news outlet Stars and Stripes, insisting that none of the nearly 40 American troops at the outpost had been killed or injured.
“That’s all we say on that,” added the US official, declining to offer specifics on the incident. He insisted, however, that it was not the only such confrontation between American and Russian forces in war-torn Syria, and that some of the clashes had involved shooting and some had not.
“There have been various engagements, some involving exchange of fire, some not,” he told the Russian journalists in remarks confirmed on the official website of the US Embassy in Moscow. “Again, we are continuing our mission there and we are continuing to exercise our right of self-defense.”
The US has deployed hundreds of troops and equipment to eastern Syria as part of what it claims to be the coalition to defeat Daesh (ISIL) terrorists, who are widely reported to be financed by Saudi Arabia and partially trained and protected by American forces in Syria to support the terror campaign against the Syrian government and ordinary citizens.
The development came as the US declared earlier this week further sanctions aimed at curbing Russian and Iranian oil shipments to Syria.
Jeffrey also emphasized that Washington had further sought Moscow’s assistance in urging the withdrawal of what he claimed as Iranian-led forces from Syria, which has repeatedly clarified that Iranian military advisers are in the country at the invitation of Damascus to help the country repulse the foreign-backed terror campaign that has so far left hundreds of thousands of casualties and millions displaced.
“We need to see a de-escalation of the fighting in Syria,” Jeffrey asserted amid reports that the US has deployed hundreds of troops to the country since last year as Syrian government forces gained a clear upper hand over the foreign-backed terrorist across its territory.