A Syrian was killed and another was wounded when government supporters attacked American troops and tried to block their way as their convoy drove through an army checkpoint in northeastern Syria, prompting a rare clash, state media reported.
The U.S. military said its force came under fire, and that troops responded in self-defense. It said an investigation of the incident was underway.
“Coalition forces, conducting a patrol near Qamishli, Syria, encountered a checkpoint occupied by pro-Syrian regime forces,” coalition spokesman Myles Caggins said on Feb. 12.
“The patrol came under small arms fire from unknown individuals. In self-defense, coalition troops returned fire,” Caggins said, without mentioning any casualties. “The situation was de-escalated and is under investigation. The coalition patrol returned to base.”
Syrian state news agency SANA said the man killed was a civilian and that he was among residents of a village east of the town of Qamishli who had gathered at the checkpoint and pelted the U.S. convoy with stones.
A monitoring group said it was not clear if the dead man was armed or not.
A video posted on state news agency SANA’s website showed angry men firing small arms at a convoy of several armored U.S. vehicles flying the U.S. flag. Some residents pelted the convoy with stones, while another dumped a bucket full of dirt on the back of one vehicle.
About 500 US troops are in northeastern Syria to assist the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance in the fight against the ISIS.
Meanwhile, SANA said that U.S. warplanes carried out an air strike on a Syrian village in rural Qamishli, near the border with Turkey, following the incident at the checkpoint. Turkey’s state-run Anadou Agency said two air strikes took place. Coalition spokesman Caggins denied any raid had taken place.