WASHINGTON, February 13. /TASS/. US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he considered the recent incident in Syria, in which a Syrian teenager was killed by US troops, to be an altercation, but not escalation, the Voice of America said.
"I got an initial report that there was an altercation in Syria. That's all the further I have on it right now," the radio station quoted the defense secretary as saying in Brussels. "I wouldn't say that there's escalating if you will, or you used the plural, clashes, if you will."
"With regard to the Russians we have deconfliction measures that have been in place for some time," he continued. "We talk to them constantly on the ground...these are things we work through on a day-to-day basis."
"As far as I know, today's incident did not involve the Russians," the US defense chief added.
Major General Yuri Borenkov, the chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Parties in Syria, said on Wednesday a 14-year-old boy was killed in the Syrian region of Al-Hasakah in a clash of US troops with local civilians, while another civilian was wounded.
The Russian Center for Reconciliation of Opposing Parties in Syria explained that the conflict broke out after the US military convoy deviated from its route and was stopped by Syrian government units outside Harbat Hamo in Al-Hasakah Province at 10.30 a.m. local time on Wednesday.
"Only thanks to efforts of the Russian soldiers who had arrived at the scene was it possible to avoid any further escalation of the conflict with local residents," Borenkov said. According to the general, the Russian service members also helped to "ensure the exit of the US Forces’ convoy towards their base at the inhabited locality of Himo in Al-Hasakah Province.".