According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the incident occurred on 25 December in the city of Tal Tamr in Al-Hasakah province in north-east Syria.
When US troops arrived to collect information from local residents, the latter reportedly reacted negatively, and accused the Americans of betraying them with the withdrawal of US forces from the area ordered by President Donald Trump in October.
Russian soldiers in the area then confronted the Americans, at which point they argued. This led to a fist fight between the soldiers. No weapons were used, and so no major casualties were reported at first. It was then revealed that three of the Russian soldiers were beaten so severely that they required urgent medical attention.
According to Russian media outlet the Military Review, the Israeli media also drew attention to the incident, although the Russian Defence Ministry has officially denied that it even took place.
“The report of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights about the alleged ‘altercation that turned into a fist fight’ between Russian and American soldiers in north-western Syria is a primitive fake,” insisted the Ministry.
Russian and American troops are stationed in close proximity to each other in the area, despite the US announcement of its withdrawal of troops on the launch of Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring in early October, following which US forces were spotted returning to some areas that they had left.
In some places, the Russian army has established its presence in those towns previously occupied by the US. One former US-controlled site was taken over by the Russians last month.
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