Middle East

Syrian civilian killed as US forces open fire on locals in NE Syria

At least a civilian has lost his life and another sustained gunshot wounds after US military forces fired shots at a group of local residents east of Syria’s northeastern Kurdish-populated city of Qamishli.

Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that Syrian army troops stopped four US military vehicles at a checkpoint in the town of Khirbet Ummo on Wednesday morning, adding that hundreds of civilians gathered at the checkpoint and prevented the patrol from passing.

The report noted that US forces then fired live bullets and gas grenades on the people, killing one and wounding another from the nearby village of Hamou.

Civilians attacked the American convoy in response, and damaged the vehicles, prompting the US forces to bring additional vehicles to tow the damaged ones.

Elsewhere in Bweir al-Bouassi village on the outskirts of Qamishli, locals pelted US armored vehicles with stones, forcing them to stop.

A number of young men reportedly got on top of one of the vehicles, and took down the US flag from it.

Syria govt. forces push militants away from key highway

Separately, Syrian government troops have managed to push foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants out of the eastern environs of the 450-kilometer-long M5 highway that crosses the country from north to south, from Aleppo to the border with Jordan.

The recapture of the economically vital highway will secure Aleppo, which used to serve as the country’s major industrial hub. The strategic northern city has been a key target for the Damascus government, as it seeks to restore territorial control and rekindle a moribund economy.

Also on Wednesday, Syrian army soldiers, backed by allied fighters from popular defense groups, entered the village of Sheikh Ali, which lies in the western countryside of M5 motorway.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human rights and the pro-government Arabic-language al-Watan newspaper reported on Wednesday that Syrian government forces have seized a string of towns and villages from Takfiri militants in the west of Aleppo province since Tuesday night.

“Areas adjacent to the M5 from the west in Aleppo province are now under regime control,” Observatory head Rami Abdul Rahman told AFP.

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