A Turkish strike against a joint base of Kurdish forces and the international anti-jihadist coalition in northeastern Syria has put American forces in danger, the American military command for the Middle East (Centcom) said on Wednesday. The Turkish army has been carrying out air raids against Kurdish fighters in Syria since Sunday.
On Tuesday, a Turkish drone bombed a joint base of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF, dominated by Kurdish fighters) and the US-led international coalition, killing two Kurdish fighters.
The Centcom initially claimed that its forces had “not been endangered” during this raid, specifying that “the closest strikes had taken place at least 20 to 30 km” away from the American presence. .
SEE ALSO – Turkey continues airstrikes in Syria ‘uninterrupted’, says Erdogan
US opposition to Turkey’s actions in Syria
But in an email to AFP on Wednesday, Centcom said it had “received additional information that US forces and personnel were at risk.” Supported by the international coalition led by the United States, the SDF spearheaded the fight against the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) driven from its strongholds in Syria in 2019.
Hundreds of soldiers from the international coalition, including Americans, are still deployed in areas under Kurdish control in northern Syria, a country fragmented by the war started in 2011.
Turkey says it is carrying out its raids in response to a deadly November 13 attack in Istanbul, blamed by Ankara on Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters and Turkish Kurdish PKK rebels, both of whom have denied responsibility.
Turkey describes as “terrorist” the main component of the SDF, the YPG (People’s Protection Units) which it considers an extension of the Turkish Kurdish rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The United States has expressed its opposition “to any military action that destabilizes the situation in Syria”, in the words of Joe Buccino, spokesman for Centcom.