Russian escalations in Syria risk direct conflict with U.S.

Russian forces have conducted a series of operations against the U.S.-led coalition in Syria this month, including one this week at a strategically located base in the southern part of the country, U.S. military officials said.

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The Russian actions have alarmed U.S. military officials, who are concerned that a miscalculation might escalate into an unintended conflict between the U.S. and Russian forces in Syria. Tensions between the two countries are already high following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February and American efforts to arm the Ukraine military to defeat Russian forces there.

On Wednesday, Russia carried out airstrikes at the al-Tanf garrison, near Syria’s border with Jordan in southeast Syria, where U.S. troops have a train-and-advise mission with local fighters to prevent a resurgence of Islamic State.

Russia notified the U.S. through a communications line set up years ago that it was conducting the airstrikes in response to an alleged attack against Syrian government forces that the Russians defend that may have resulted in injuries and destroyed a vehicle.

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