Turkish Airstrike Hits 300 Meters From US Forces in Syria  

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Two sources told Granthshala that a Turkish airstrike launched as part of Ankara’s new offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters came close to hitting US forces in northeastern Syria, raising tensions in the region.

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US Central Command, which oversees about 900 US troops in Syria to combat the Islamic State terror group, acknowledged the attack for the first time on Tuesday and said no US personnel were on the base at the time.

But a US defense official told Granthshala late on Wednesday that American troops were close to within 300 meters of the base, located north of the city of Hasakah.


A source close to the leadership of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, further told Granthshala that the base is part of a larger complex and that US forces were in a separate building that is not part of the base.

US military officials have been reluctant to share additional details, but appeared to acknowledge the seriousness of the incident in a statement late Wednesday.

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“The recent airstrikes in Syria directly threaten the safety of US personnel working with local allies in Syria to defeat ISIS and maintain custody of more than 10,000 ISIS detainees,” said Pentagon press secretary Brigadier General Patrick Ryder. put in.”

“An immediate de-escalation is necessary to focus on the defeat of the ISIS mission and ensure the safety of personnel on the ground,” he added. “We will continue to discuss with Turkey and our local partners to maintain the ceasefire arrangement.”

SDF officials said Tuesday’s airstrike killed two US-trained members of its counter-terrorist forces.

An SDF spokesman told Granthshala on Wednesday that US troops had been at the base only five days earlier and were conducting some aerial surveillance of the area.

The US revelation that the Turkish airstrike had directly endangered US personnel followed repeated calls by US officials for Turkey and the Syrian Kurds to pull back.

See also:

US calls for de-escalation as fighting between Turkey, Syrian Kurds escalates

On Wednesday, the US chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, spoke by phone with his Turkish counterpart and stressed the need to maintain communication.

Turkey launched its most recent offensive, Operation Claw-Sword, against Syrian Kurds last week, blaming them for a November 13 bombing in Istanbul that killed at least eight people and wounded dozens.

Syrian Kurds attend the funeral of those killed in a Turkish airstrike in Al Malikiyyah village in northern Syria, November 21, 2022.

See also:

Turkey threatens to kill US-backed Syrian Kurds

The US-backed SDF and the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Syria-based branch of the Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist group, have denied responsibility.

While the US views the Kurdish-led SDF as an important ally in the fight against IS and is separate from the YPG, Ankara views the SDF and YPG as a single organization, arguing that many fighters belong to both groups. are of.

“Turkey remains a legitimate terrorist threat, particularly to their south,” John Kirby, the National Security Council’s coordinator for strategic communications, told reporters Tuesday. “They certainly have every right to defend themselves and their citizens.”

But Kirby emphasized Washington’s concerns that Turkey’s invasion would, in the long run, do more harm than good.

“It may force a response by some of our SDF partners that will disrupt, limit their ability to continue the fight against ISIS. … It is still viable as a threat,” he said.

The SDF told Granthshala on Wednesday that these apprehensions are already beginning to emerge.

“Due to the preoccupation of our forces in addressing the Turkish occupation, they cannot continue their mission of pursuing ISIS cells,” SDF commander Mazloum Abdi said in a statement shared with Granthshala.

“At present, we are forced to face Turkish aggression,” he said.

Civilians in northeast Syria worried about Turkish invasion

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Civilians in northeast Syria worried about Turkish invasion

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Other SDF officers who spoke with Granthshala emphasized that the change in posture should not be seen as a policy decision or as an end to anti-IS operations, explaining that they have received reports of Turkish airstrikes. And there is no choice but to defend itself against a possible Turkish ground attack.

The SDF also accused Turkey of promoting IS with its actions.

SDF spokesman Farhad Shami told Granthshala that Turkey carried out five airstrikes on Wednesday against security forces guarding IS families in the al-Hol displaced persons camp in northeastern Syria, allowing some families to escape.

He said six people, including three women, have been recaptured.

The SDF additionally accused Turkey of targeting civilian infrastructure including homes, hospitals and schools and killing at least 15 civilians since the start of its offensive on Saturday.

Turkey rejected the SDF’s allegations on Wednesday.

“It is the PKK/YPG terrorist organization that has long disrupted civilian infrastructure in Syria as well as Turkey,” Turkish embassy officials in Washington told Granthshala in a statement.

Turkish officials further alleged, “The PKK/YPG launched another round of rocket and mortar attacks across the border from Syria, indiscriminately targeting schools, kindergartens and residential areas, resulting in civilian casualties, including teachers and students.” Happened.” The group of collaborating with IS “to carry out attacks against Syrians west of the Euphrates.”

Turkey has said its strikes have killed 184 militants so far, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signaled on Wednesday that he was preparing to ramp up efforts against Syrian Kurds.

“While we go ahead uninterrupted with the airstrikes, we will also act on terrorists at the most convenient time for us,” Erdogan said during a speech to members of parliament.

“Turkey has the power to identify, apprehend and punish those terrorists who are involved in attacks against our country and nation, and those who are helping them inside and outside us…

Source: www.voanews.com

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