US convoy attacked Wednesday by pro-Syrian forces

Syrian dead, another injured | No US casualties

One Syrian was killed and another was wounded in a rare clash Wednesday between American troops and a group of government supporters who tried to block a U.S. convoy driving through a village in northeastern Syria.

The attack happened near Qamishli on Wednesday, but the Pentagon said there were no U.S. casualties and that troops suffered only non-life-threatening injuries.

Reports say that Assad intelligence arrested the militants who attacked the American patrols.

According to a Coalition Forces statement, troops patrolling the area encountered a checkpoint manned by pro-Syrian forces. The patrol came under small arms fire, and Coalition forces returned fire.

Eventually, the fight de-escalated, and the patrol returned to base.

State-run media said the killed man was among residents of a village east of the town of Qamishli who had gathered at an army checkpoint, pelting the U.S. convoy with stones and taking down a U.S. flag from one of the vehicles. At that point, American troops fired with live ammunition and smoke bombs at the residents, the reports said.

“In self-defense, coalition troops returned fire. The situation was de-escalated and is under investigation,” coalition spokesman Myles Caggins said.

Air Force Lt. Col. Carla Gleason, traveling with the U.S. defense secretary in Brussels, also said no Americans were killed in the incident.

Qamishli is a province of Hasaka, an area where U.S. forces reportedly have established a new base.

Hundreds of U.S. troops are stationed in northeastern Syria, working with their local partners from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces to fight against the Islamic State group. The U.S. carries out patrols in northeastern Syria, but it was not immediately clear why the convoy drove into a government-controlled area.

State-run Al-Ikhbariya TV aired a cellphone video showing an armored vehicle flying a U.S. flag standing on a rural road while a car appeared to be blocking its way.

Locals are seen walking past the U.S. armored vehicle, with at least two soldiers inside, one of whom steps down as civilians approach. One civilian is seen tearing a U.S. flag as he approaches the soldier.

The TV said protests spread, preventing reinforcements from coming to help the U.S. convoy. The report said the wounded civilian was being treated at the Qamishli hospital.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said residents and armed pro-government militiamen in Khirbet Ammu blocked the path of a U.S. convoy. The militia fired in the air, prompting the American troops to fire smoke bombs. Tension escalated and U.S. troops killed one person, the Observatory said.

The Syrian war, now in its ninth year, has pulled in international players including the U.S., Russia and Turkey. Russia has supported President Bashar Assad’s government, while Turkey is the rebels’ main backer.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that Turkey will attack Syrian government forces anywhere in Syria if another Turkish soldier is hurt.

At least 13 Turkish soldiers have been killed by Syrian artillery fire this month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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