Quantcast
Connect with us

‘Terrifying and totally predictable’: Pentagon confirms US forces in Syria came under Turkish artillery fire

Published

on

Noting Turkey’s claims that this was a mistake, the U.S. peace group CodePink declared that “this is what happens when a country goes into a war of expansion so callously and rapidly.”

As tens of thousands of civilians flee northeast Syria amid Turkey’s ongoing offensive targeting Kurdish forces in the region—an operation enabled by U.S. President Donald Trump—the Pentagon confirmed late Friday that “U.S. troops in the vicinity of Kobani came under artillery fire from Turkish positions.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Newsweek initially reported Friday afternoon, citing both an Iraqi Kurdish intelligence official and a senior Pentagon official, that U.S. Special Forces “operating on Mashtenour hill in the majority-Kurdish city of Kobani fell under artillery fire from Turkish forces conducting their so-called ‘Operation Peace Spring’ against Kurdish fighters backed by the U.S. but considered terrorist organizations by Turkey.”

According to the unnamed Pentagon official, “shelling by the Turkish forces was so heavy that the U.S. personnel considered firing back in self-defense.” However, “instead of returning fire, the Special Forces withdrew once the shelling had ceased.”

Following Newsweek‘s report, a Pentagon spokesperson, Navy Captain Brook DeWalt, said in a statement that “the explosion occurred within a few hundred meters of a location outside the Security Mechanism zone and in an area known by the Turks to have U.S. forces present.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Despite the artillery fire, DeWalt said that all U.S. troops are accounted for with no injuries and have not withdrawn from Kobani.

“The United States remains opposed to the Turkish military move into Syria and especially objects to Turkish operations outside the Security Mechanism zone and in areas where the Turks know U.S. forces are present,” he added. “The U.S. demands that Turkey avoids actions that could result in immediate defensive action.”

The Pentagon’s official remarks contrasted with a statement from the Turkish Defense Ministry on Friday. According to Newsweek:

ADVERTISEMENT

The ministry affirmed that “Turkish border outposts south of Suruc came under Dochka and mortar fire from the hills located approximately 1,000 meters southwest of a U.S. observation post.”

“In self-defense, reciprocal fire was opened on the terrorist positions of the attack. Turkey did not open fire at the U.S. observation post in any way,” the statement added. “All precautions were taken prior to opening fire in order to prevent any harm to the U.S. base. As a precaution, we ceased fire upon receiving information from the U.S. We firmly reject the claim that U.S. or coalition forces were fired upon.”

Linking to Newsweek‘s report, the U.S. peace advocacy group CodePink challenged Turkey’s statement, tweeting: “They say this was a mistake. We say this is what happens when a country goes into a war of expansion so callously and rapidly.”

ADVERTISEMENT

U.S. and coalition officials cast doubt on Turkey’s claims in comments to journalists:

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

“One U.S. official told CNN the U.S. does not believe the Turkish shelling near U.S. troops posted near Kobani was an accident and that it was likely designed to chase the U.S. from the area,” the news outlet reported, noting that “the U.S. has previously announced that it gave Turkey ‘explicit grid coordinate detail’ of U.S. positions in Syria.”

CNN also highlighted comments on Twitter from Brett McGurk, the former presidential envoy to the global coalition to counter the Islamic State (ISIS) who is now a foreign affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC.

ADVERTISEMENT

Turkey launched airstrikes and ground incursions targeting Kurdish forces along the Turkey-Syria border on Wednesday after Trump announced Sunday—following a call with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan—that U.S. troops “will no longer be in the immediate area.” Trump’s announcement was widely decried by American lawmakers across the political spectrum as well as humanitarians the world over.

Critics accused Trump of abandoning the United States’ Kurdish allies who helped defeat ISIS in the region. By standing aside and allowing Turkey’s operation to move forward, “the Americans,” said one Kurdish official, “have abandoned us to a Turkish massacre.”

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)—a coalition of Kurds, Arabs, and Turkmen, led by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG)—guard about 11,000 ISIS detainees in facilities throughout northern Syria. An SDF spokesperson said Friday that five ISIS prisoners escaped a facility in Qamishli city, renewing fears about a resurgence of the terrorist group because of Turkey’s operation.

A humanitarian group in the region reported that as of Thursday, at least 11 people have been killed by the Turkish bombing campaign. Turkey’s defense officials claimed that as of Friday, their forces have killed 277 Kurdish fighters and had advanced five miles into parts of Syria.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Friday that Turkey would risk “serious consequences” if it doesn’t cease its attacks and—while announcing that Trump will sign an executive order giving his administration broad authority to hit the country with sanctions—U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin claimed that “we can shut down the Turkish economy if we need to.” However, beyond such threats, the Trump administration has not yet taken any public and formal actions to curtail or end the Turkish offensive.

ADVERTISEMENT

by

Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

He ‘can’t understand why he is being impeached’: CNN reports Trump is asking ’why are they doing his to me?’

Published

on

President Donald Trump is reportedly "distracted" by impeachment while vacationing at Mar-a-Lago as the United States Senate trial begins.

"A source close to the White House who speaks to Donald Trump regularly said the President has appeared 'distracted' by the impeachment trial that begins on Tuesday, telling people around him Friday night at Mar-a-Lago that he 'can't understand why he is impeached,'" CNN's Jim Acosta reported Saturday. "'Why are they doing this to me,' the source quoted Trump as saying repeatedly."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Rod Rosenstein’s legal defense in lawsuits from Strzok and Page won’t hold up under oath: legal experts

Published

on

Rod Rosenstein

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein claimed responsibility for the release of text messages between then-FBI attorney Lisa Page and then-FBI official Peter Strzok.

Emails released in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) revealed the highly unusual release by Sarah Isgur Flores, who at the time was the spokesperson for Trump's Department of Justice (she is now overseeing CNN's 2020 election coverage).

Flores instructed reporters to not cite the release of the documents to the Depart of Justice.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Neo-Nazi arrested by FBI in terror plot before his comrades tried to kill him for being ‘stupid’ and ‘incompetent’: report

Published

on

On Saturday, CBC News reported that several members of a white supremacist group called The Base have been arrested in Georgia and Wisconsin. This comes one day after another set of raids in Maryland and Delaware that caught Patrik Mathews, a former reservist from Manitoba who crossed into the United States illegally and has been missing for five months after being accused of recruiting for the extremist group.

One new key detail came out about Mathews in an affidavit used to secure the arrest warrants for Mathews' alleged compatriots, according to the CBC: "Although the document suggests the group member believed to be Mathews stayed with a Georgia cell member for months, he is later reportedly characterized as 'incompetent' and 'stupid' and is seen as a liability to the local group. In fact, he eventually becomes a new potential murder target."

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image