WASHINGTON, (BM) – On March 5, a ceasefire agreement was signed between Syria, Turkey and Russia. This significantly reduced the hostilities between the hostile countries, but on the other hand allowed some data unknown to the general public to be released.
U.S. Army Capt. Quataert told NPR reporter that the mission for U.S. forces in Syria is now more complex — and possibly more dangerous then the last few years years. Though U.S. forces are doing a variety of things in Syria, 29-year-old Quataert says, “our primary mission is to secure the oil infrastructure for use of our partner force.”
According Capt. Quataert last year there were armed clashes between US troops in Syria and Turkish artillery.
“These soldiers had to quickly move east last fall when Turkish troops invaded cutting U.S. supply lines and threatening U.S. forces. My soldiers came under fire from Turkish artillery, and they nearly fired back. Russian troops followed close behind the troops and were able to take over an American outpost. For a while they had to sleep in their trucks before building their new outpost.” Capt. Quataert told NPR reporter.
BulgarianMilitary.com recals that all happened because President Trump essentially gave the green light for Turkey to invade, then tweeted that all U.S. troops would be leaving Syria.
Capt. Quataert said that soldiers here and in neighboring Iraq refer to that order as simply, “the Tweet.”
Few days later Trump reversed himself because military officials convinced him. The White House allowed hundreds of U.S. troops to stay and secure the oil fields for Kurdish forces.
In recent weeks Quataert’s soldiers have, again, come under attack from Syrian government militias, an attack that ended with one militia member dead and another wounded. The Russians routinely harass and confront the American patrols, provoking them with their erratic driving. The Americans block them or head them off. Quataert dryly calls it, “not necessarily a friendly situation.”
Capt. Quataert also gave more information on provocative actions last month between Americans and Russians on Syria’s roads. According to him, the Russians don’t know is that the captain has a secret weapon.
“When we stop for the mission, I’m in the background and I don’t even tell them I speak Russian because the whole job is to gather information,” says Sgt. Vlad. He’s a former Russian soldier who ended up in North Carolina and joined the U.S. Army. He asked that his full name not be used for security purposes.
Vlad says that lately the Russians have been playing tricks on the roads –speeding and jumping the blockades set up by the Americans, “and once in a while, you’ll get lucky where a Russian vehicle gets stuck in the mud and they can’t go anywhere. And the Russians keep going in and they realize we can’t leave our brothers behind. They come back and we’ve got him trapped.”
Despite the cat and mouse game, there have so far been no dangerous encounters. It seems neither country wants an escalation. Quataert says they aren’t going to start World War III over this.
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