Turkish troops have dropped bombs on the location of U.S. special forces stationed in Syria in what may be a mistake, a new report claims.
The Turkish military started a military operation against Kurdish troops in northern Syria after President Donald Trump announced this week that he would be moving American troops and allowing Turkey to start its long-awaited operation. As Newsweek reported, a small contingent of U.S. special forces have now been caught up in the shelling as Turkey launches attacks against the Kurds, who were America’s allies in the fight against the Islamic State.
“Newsweek has learned through both an Iraqi Kurdish intelligence official and senior Pentagon official that 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,” the report noted.
Conditions in northern Syria have been described as chaotic, as residents flee from the ongoing assault. A senior Pentagon official said that Turkish forces should have been aware of where the small number of remaining American troops were stationed. The ones caught up in the shelling were a small force of somewhere between 15 and 100 troops, the official added.
Turkish forces have fired on a declared U.S. military outpost in northern Syria. Turkey knows all of our locations down to the precise grid coordinate as confirmed by SECDEF and CJCS only two hours ago. This was not a mistake.
— Brett McGurk (@brett_mcgurk) October 11, 2019
There were reportedly no injuries to troops when Turkey bombed U.S. positions, but recent reports indicated that Kurdish civilians have been killed by Turkish forces. As the BBC reported, close to 100,000 people have fled their homes in northern Syria as Turkey continues its offensive in areas held by Kurdish forces. Many others have taken shelter in some of the most heavily bombarded areas.
There is also widespread concern that Kurdish forces could be forced to abandon its network of prisons where captured ISIS militants are being held.
American President Donald Trump has come under worldwide criticism for the move, with critics on both sides of the aisle accusing him of abandoning the Kurdish allies who bore the brunt of fighting against the Islamic State in Syria. Trump has claimed that he is not abandoning these Kurdish allies, saying he did not endorse the Turkish attacks and said the offensive was a “bad idea.”
But Trump later lodged attacks against the Kurdish forces, seemingly blaming them for not helping the United States during World War II.
“They’re fighting for their land,” Trump said on Wednesday, via the New York Times. “And as somebody wrote in a very, very powerful article today, they didn’t help us in the Second World War. They didn’t help us with Normandy, as an example.”
Donald Trump has now suggested that he could mediate a deal between Turkey and the Kurds.