Incident between U.S. patrol and pro-regime militiamen southeast of Qamishli, Syria

QAMISHLI, Syria – Today, around noon, a U.S. patrol was stopped at a checkpoint by National Defense Forces (NDF) militiamen in the village of Khirbet Amo, southeast of Qamishli.

An intense standoff ensued with U.S. reinforcing the patrol with additional armored vehicles while U.S. aircraft flew overhead.

Following an argument, a member of the NDF fired on the U.S. forces, who returned fire.

According to a source, during the incident the U.S. conducted an air strike in the vicinity of the checkpoint in an attempt to dissuade the NDF from escalating the situation further. The strike could be heard by SyriacPress correspondents in Qamishli.

Russian patrols were also dispatched to Khirbet Amo village from Qamishli airport to maintain calm.

According to Syria’s state news agency SANA, one NDF member was killed and another wounded.

At least one U.S. vehicle suffered damage and had to be towed back to base.

The Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) spokesperson issued the following statement about the incident. No mention of an airstrike appears in the OIR statement:

“On Feb. 12, Coalition forces, conducting a patrol near Qamishli, Syria, encountered a checkpoint occupied by pro-Syrian regime forces. After Coalition troops issued a series of warnings and de-escalation attempts, the patrol came under small arms fire from unknown individuals. In self-defense, Coalition troops returned fire. The situation was de-escalated and is under investigation. The Coalition patrol returned the base. ~Col. Myles B. Caggins III, Coalition military spokesman @OIRspox”

The NDF was involved in an incident last year in the Qamishli city center that escalated into a shootout with the Asayish (security forces) of the Democratic Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria that left 16 dead.