The Pentagon is deploying a small number of U.S. troops to Syria after a series of escalating encounters between the U.S. and Russian militaries, according to three U.S. defense officials.

The troops and vehicles will serve as a show of presence to discourage the Russian military from crossing into the eastern security area where U.S., coalition, and Syrian Democratic Forces operate, the officials said…

While U.S. military and Russian forces have come in contact at checkpoints and along highway M4 in Syria throughout 2020, on Aug. 17 U.S. and Syrian Democratic Forces came under small arms fire after passing through a checkpoint near Tal al-Zahab, Syria. The U.S. and SDF had permission from the pro-Syrian regime forces manning the checkpoint, but then began to take fire from unidentified forces nearby. The U.S. and SDF returned fire and did not suffer any casualties. U.S. officials said the small arms fire likely came from Syrian and Russian forces.