THE US army has sent reinforcements into Syria after a spate of clashes with Russian soldiers and the worrying resurgence of ISIS.
It has deployed units to the east of the country just three weeks after US troops were injured when a Russian military vehicle rammed their patrol.
Captain Bill Urban, of US Central Command, said it has also set up radar systems and increased fighter jet patrols over the region to better protect American and coalition forces.
“The United States does not seek conflict with any other nation in Syria, but will defend Coalition forces if necessary,” he said.
The move comes amid reports ISIS are once again rampant in the country after a string of suicide attacks and prison breaks.
The Islamic death cult was crushed last year when they were driven out of their last enclave in Baghuz in north eastern Syria.
However, sleeper cells have regrouped in recent months and are now taking advantage of outbreaks of Covid-19 in the region.
There are an estimated 14,000 suspected Islamic State fighters currently being held in Syrian prisons controlled by Kurdish-led forces.
ISIS is also said to have grown in confidence following last year’s shock US withdrawal from the war-torn country.
A senior US official last night revealed multiple Bradley armored vehicles and around 100 additional troops have now been sent back to Syria.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the reinforcements are a clear signal to Russia to avoid any more “unsafe and provocative actions” against the US and its allies.
There have been a number of escalating incidents this year between US and Russian forces who patrol eastern Syria.
The most serious was last month, when Russian vehicles sideswiped an light-armored US military vehicle, injuring four Americans.
A US official revealed at the time that two Russian helicopters also “buzzed” the Americans coming within just 70 feet of the vehicle.
Russia, which backs the Syrian government, has long opposed American presence in the country.
The skirmish set off a war of words and finger-pointing between the two rival super powers.
The Russian Defense Ministry blamed the US for the vehicle collision.
The ministry said Russia had notified the US-led coalition about the Russian military police convoy’s route and said the US tried to block the Russian patrol.
However, head of US Central Command General Frank McKenzie said the Russians were in an area they were not supposed to be.
This is the second time that Bradleys have been sent into Syria.
They were used last October in operations with US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in missions to defeat the remnants of ISIS and to protect oil fields in that area.
The Bradley units are from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, based at Fort Bliss, Texas.
“The mechanized infantry assets will help ensure the force protection of coalition forces in an increasingly complex operating environment in northeast Syria,” said Colonel Wayne Marotto, spokesman for the US-led coalition.
“The Coalition forces remain steadfast in our commitment of ensuring the enduring defeat of Daesh (ISIS).
In October 2019, President Donald Trump decided to withdraw 1,000 US troops that were operating in support of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance.
Months later, he said he had decided to keep a few hundred troops in the country to protect oil wells.