Four U.S. soldiers were reportedly injured on Tuesday in a collision with a Russian military vehicle during a routine security patrol in north-eastern Syria. The incident follows skirmishes last week in the same region between U.S. and Syrian government forces, which allegedly killed one Syrian soldier. Crisis Group expert Dareen Khalifa says Russia appears to be pushing the envelope, perhaps in order to increase pressure on the U.S. to withdraw. Although Russia almost certainly does not seek a direct military confrontation, close encounters such as this week’s incident inevitably increase the risk of one.

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