A contingent of U.S. Special Forces has been caught up in Turkish shelling in opposition to U.S.-backed Kurdish positions in northern Syria, days after President Donald Trump informed his Turkish counterpart he would withdraw U.S. troops from sure positions within the space.
Newsweek has discovered by each an Iraqi Kurdish intelligence official and senior Pentagon official that Special Forces working on Mashtenour hill within the majority-Kurdish metropolis of Kobani fell underneath artillery fireplace from Turkish forces conducting their so-called “Operation Peace Spring” in opposition to Kurdish fighters backed by the U.S. however thought-about terrorist organizations by Turkey.
The senior Pentagon official stated that Turkish forces ought to pay attention to U.S. positions “down to the grid.” The official couldn’t specify the precise variety of personnel current, however indicated they have been “small numbers below company level,” so someplace between 15 and 100 troops.
The incident got here as Defense Secretary Mark Esper assured reporters that as much as 50 Special Force Operators had been repositioned from “two small outposts” close to the Syrian border as Turkey commenced a unilateral operation opposed by the Pentagon. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had lengthy warned he would storm the border to ascertain a so-called “safe zone” and, after the White House introduced Sunday that U.S. troops would stand apart, he launched the operation earlier this week.
Newsweek has reached to the Pentagon for additional touch upon the state of affairs.
In its Sunday assertion, the White House had stated that U.S. troops “will no longer be in the immediate area” as Turkey and allied Syrian rebels commenced their assault.
The U.S. first partnered with a largely Kurdish militia often called the Syrian Democratic Forces in 2015 to battle the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) because the nation shifted its help away from an more and more Islamist opposition looking for the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The group proved efficient in beating again the jihadis, however the U.S.’ choice was opposed by Turkey, a NATO member that has confronted off with a decades-long insurgency by Kurdish separatists.
Turkey stays the final main sponsor of the Syrian opposition, made up largely of members of the nation’s Syrian Arab majority, and has mobilized as much as a thousand fighters from these forces, together with tons of of its personal troops, with the intention to seize territory at present administered by a majority-Kurdish autonomous administration that spans the nation’s north and east. This self-governing entity has not been acknowledged by Ankara nor the central authorities in Damascus, which has secured a lot of the remainder of the nation’s territory with the assistance of Russia, Iran and allied militias.
This is a creating story. More data can be added because it turns into obtainable.