U.S. and Russian Dueling Roadblocks Create Friction Near Syria’s Oil and Gas Regions

U.S. and Russian forces have blocked or attempted to block one another’s movements along the strategic M4 highway that connects major towns and cities running parallel to the border with Turkey, the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, a United Kingdom-based monitor with ties to Syria’s exiled opposition, has reported.

For more than one week, the organization has reported near-daily incidents mainly in rural Al-Hasakah, a resource-rich province where both a U.S.-led coalition and Russia and its allies hold positions.

The overlapping lines of control have still reportedly produced frictions, however. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Wednesday that “tensions have continued to increase significantly in recent days between U.S. and Russian forces in the north-eastern regions of Syria.”

In most cases, the U.S. has reportedly forced the Russian side to turn back on the M4. However, in at least one scenario earlier this month it was Russian and allied Syrian forces that blocked access for U.S. armored vehicles. The Syrian Democratic Forces have reportedly intervened in some instances to defuse the situation.

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