Turkish airstrikes threaten US troops in Syria
Among the Turkish targets this week was a base jointly held by the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Coalition to Defeat Islamic State, which includes US troops, according to Sinam Mohamad, the representative of the Syrian Democratic Council in the United States. The attack killed two SDF members who were helping coalition forces fight ISIS, she wrote on Twitter.
The airstrikes posed a risk to US troops and personnel, Central Command spokesman Col. Joe Buccino said in an email.
“We oppose any military action that destabilizes the situation in Syria,” Buccino wrote. « These actions threaten our common goals, including the continued fight against ISIS to ensure the group can never reemerge and threaten the region. »
Buccino declined to disclose the location of the base.
US officials are preparing for an escalation in Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Tuesday that Turkey would soon launch a ground offensive with tanks and soldiers against the Kurdish militia.
« We attacked the terrorists for a few days with our planes, our cannons and our rifles, » Erdoğan said. « God willing, we will eliminate them all as soon as possible, with our tanks, our soldiers. »
Since the summer, US officials have warned Turkey not to invade northern Syria, saying such a move would be catastrophic for the fight against ISIS. Senior Ministry of Defense officials visited Turkey this year to convey this message.
« We continue to urge de-escalation on all sides and in our conversations, » Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said Tuesday.
General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke by telephone with his Turkish counterpart, the Chief of the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces, General Yaşar Güler, on Wednesday, according to a door reading. -word of Milley.
Turkey launched a large-scale aerial assault around midnight on Saturday, using 70 fighter jets and drones in northern and eastern Syria, according to the Rojava Information Center, a news agency run by pro-Syrian Kurdish activists. . The strikes also targeted sites around Duhok, Sulaymaniyah and Shengal in Iraq.
In total, the strikes killed 11 civilians and injured nine others, according to the report.
The possibility of a Turkish ground offensive is reminiscent of Operation Peace Spring in October 2019, when Ankara invaded northeast Syria after then-President Donald Trump ordered US troops to withdraw. of the region. More than 70 civilians in Syria and 20 in Turkey have been killed and more than 300,000 people have been displaced.
A peace deal reached that month redrew the borders between the Kurdish, Turkish and Russian-held areas of northern Syria.