Russian Defense Ministry has said that a U.S. military unit withdrawing from northern Syria came under fire from Turkey-backed rebels.
The unit was heading toward the Iraqi border when the incident happened, the ministry said on Nov. 3, citing the American side.
The convoy was traveling along the M4 motorway, which was captured by Turkey during its military offensive, when it was attacked near the town of Tell Tamer.
“As part of deconfliction exchange, information has been received from the US side that on November 3 a convoy of American servicemen… was fired upon from the territory controlled by the pro-Turkish Syrian National Army,” a statement from the ministry read, Russia Today reported.
Nobody was hurt in the incident, a U.S. Central Command spokesperson confirmed in a statement to Sputnik.
It said that the shell landed about one kilometer away from U.S. forces and posed “no risk.”
The incident came amid U.S. withdrawal from the area, which was announced on Oct. 6 by President Donald Trump.
Delivery of S-400 systems may be delayed: Turkey
The head of Turkey’s Defense Industry Directorate, meanwhile, said the delivery of a second batch of Russian S-400 missile defense systems to Turkey may be delayed beyond a planned 2020 timeline by talks on technology sharing and joint production.
NATO allies Turkey and the United States have been at loggerheads over the purchase of the S-400 system, which Washington says is not compatible with NATO defenses and poses a threat to its Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets.
Despite Washington’s warnings and threats of U.S. sanctions, Turkey started taking delivery of the first S-400 batch in July. In response, Washington has removed Turkey from the F-35 programme, in which Ankara was a manufacturer and buyer.
Washington still hopes to persuade its ally to “walk away” from the Russian systems.
“We are planning a timeline for next year. As opposed to the first [batch], there is joint production and technology transfer here. It is beyond the ‘let’s buy it quickly and install it’ of the first system,” İsmail Demir told broadcaster NTV on Nov. 4.
“The joint production concept may move the timeline. We have some sensitivities regarding some of the production being here. Technical work continues,” he said.
Despite the threat of U.S. sanctions over Ankara’s move to buy the Russian systems, Turkey has indicated it could procure Russian fighter jets if the United States refuses to deliver the F-35 jets it has purchased.
On Nov. 4, Demir said Russia had offered to sell Turkey its Su-35 fighter jets.
“There is an offer and we are evaluating it. There cannot be such a thing as ‘we’re buying tomorrow’ in such matters. The offer’s financial and strategic aspects will be examined, there cannot be an immediate decision,” Demir said.
“It would not be right to say ‘the F-35 era is closed, the Su-35 era is beginning’, but we will evaluate the offer,” he said.