Pentagon says ready to defend its forces "vigorously" in Syria

Pentagon says ready to defend its forces "vigorously" in Syria

The Pentagon slammed Russia's military for what it called "deliberately provocative and aggressive behavior" that injured multiple U.S. military personnel following a collision between American and Russian armored vehicles in eastern Syria.

"Russian forces breached our deconfliction arrangement in Syria and injured U.S. service members with their deliberately provocative and aggressive behavior," Chief Pentagon Spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said.

"We have advised the Russians that their behavior was dangerous and unacceptable. We expect a return to routine and professional deconfliction in Syria and reserve the right to defend our forces vigorously whenever their safety is put at risk," CNN cited him as saying.

Russia's Defense Ministry had issued a statement of its own earlier blaming the U.S. military for the incident and saying the event had been the subject of a Wednesday phone call between Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley and his counterpart, Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov.

The Russian statement claimed the U.S. had been notified of the movements of the Russian convoy and that the collision had occurred after the U.S. troops tried to block the Russian patrol.

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