The Pentagon has confirmed that U.S. troops have been repositioned in northern Syria after Turkey selected to conduct an operation of its personal towards Kurdish fighters backed by Washington.
In a press release revealed Tuesday, Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman dispelled reviews that President Donald Trump didn’t inform high officers akin to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Army General Mark A. Milley of his said choice Sunday to maneuver U.S. troops following a name with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has threatened to assault Kurdish teams backed by Washington however thought-about terrorist teams by Ankara.
“Despite continued misreporting to the contrary, Secretary Esper and Chairman Milley were consulted over the last several days by the President regarding the situation and efforts to protect U.S. forces in northern Syria in the face of military action by Turkey,” the assertion learn.
“The Department’s position has been and remains that establishing a safe zone in northern Syria is the best path forward to maintaining stability,” it added. “Unfortunately, Turkey has chosen to act unilaterally. As a result we have moved the U.S. forces in northern Syria out of the path of potential Turkish incursion to ensure their safety. We have made no changes to our force presence in Syria at this time.”
Shortly earlier than the assertion was launched, the Coordination and Military Operations Center of the majority-Kurdish, U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces reported an assault on one in every of its positions in Ras al-Ain, alongside the Syrian-Turkish border. U.S. troops had been pictured with armored autos close to the town, identified in Kurdish as Sere Kaniye and positioned within the northeastern province of Hasakah, simply days earlier than.
“The Turkish military is shelling one of our points on #SereKaniye Border with Turkey. There were no injuries to our forces. We didn’t respond to this unprovoked attack. We are prepared to defend the people and the people of NE #Syria,” the middle’s account tweeted.
The Syrian Democratic Forces have criticized the White House choice to step apart, and Turkey and allied Syrian insurgent teams entered northern Syria with none so-called “safe zone” settlement.
Trump on Monday threatened to wreak havoc on the Turkish economic system if it did something he thought-about “to be off limits” in northern Syria. But the next day he praised his “very good” relationship with the “NATO and Trading partner” and denied that “denied he had “Abandoned the Kurds, who’re particular individuals and great fighters.”
The Pentagon formally partnered with the Syrian Democratic Forces in 2015, shifting away from an more and more Islamist insurgency centered extra on making an attempt to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad than battling the Islamic State militant group (ISIS). As the Syrian opposition misplaced floor to the federal government, backed by Russia and Iran, Turkey remained the embattled faction’s final main overseas supporter.
The Syrian Democratic Forces have remained largely impartial in Syria’s civil conflict, however have alternatively fought with and towards Syrian authorities forces disavowed by the U.S. and Turkey. In current years, relations with Syrian insurgent teams have considerably deteriorated and clashes between Pentagon-backed Kurds and formerly-CIA-backed insurgents supported by Turkey have damaged out.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has known as on Syrian Kurds to reconcile with the Damascus, abandon their push for self-rule and be a part of pro-government efforts to repel a Turkish incursion. Russia and Iran have additionally expressed concern over Turkey’s respect for Syria’s territorial integrity, with the latter outright expressing opposition towards any Turkish navy strikes in northern Syria.
Despite backing the opposition, Ankara has labored alongside Moscow and Tehran as a part of a trilateral peace course of largely dismissed by Washington. All 4 international locations not too long ago endorsed a current U.N.-backed push to create a brand new Syrian structure. However, it was unclear if Turkey’s potential operation would have an effect on this, because the Syrian Democratic Forces weren’t included in these talks.