Two U.S. Helicopters Attacked a Syrian Army Checkpoint, Reports State Media

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Syria's President Bashar Assad speaks during an interview with Russia 24 in Damascus, Syria, March 5, 2020.
Syria's President Bashar Assad speaks during an interview with Russia 24 in Damascus, Syria, March 5, 2020. Credit: SANA/Handout via REUTERS

Two U.S. helicopters attacked a Syrian army checkpoint in northeast Syria near Kurdish-held Qamishli, killing one soldier and wounding two others, Syrian state media reported on Monday.

According to the report, the attack came after the Syrian army prevented an American convoy from passing through. There was no immediate comment from the U.S. military on the reported incident.

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.

Earlier on Monday, a Turkish military vehicle was hit by a blast on during a joint Russian-Turkish patrol in Syria's Idlib region, the RIA news agency cited Russia's defence ministry as saying.

No Russian soldiers were hurt in the incident, it said.

Last week Russia and Turkey briefly suspended joint military patrols carried out along the M4 highway in Syria's northwestern region of Idlib over increasing militant attacks in the area, the Russian foreign ministry said.

Russia and Turkey began the patrols in March after they agreed a ceasefire in the region following weeks of clashes that brought Ankara and Moscow close to direct confrontation, and displaced nearly a million people.

Recent attacks by "radicals" have prompted a suspension of the patrols, the ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

"Terrorists have stepped up the amount of shelling on government troops and nearby settlements, not ceasing their provocations in the 'security corridor' along the M4 highway. Thus, the joint patrols have been suspended," she told a news conference on Thursday.

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