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Pentagon: Turkish Airstrikes In Syria 'Directly Threatened' US Troops

    Pentagon: Turkish Airstrikes In Syria 'Directly Threatened' US Troops
    Last updated: 1 week ago
    Image credit: AFP [via VOA News]

    Facts

    • The US Central Command (CENTCOM) stated on Wednesday that a Turkish drone strike on a base in Syria on Tuesday put US troops and personnel at risk. No US service members were injured in the strike. No further information was provided, and Joint Chiefs Chair Gen. Mark Kelly reportedly spoke with his Turkish counterpart Gen. Yasar Guler about "items of mutual strategic interest." [1]
    • Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder expressed concern over escalating actions in the area in a statement on Wednesday, calling for immediate de-escalation to "maintain focus on the defeat-ISIS mission." At the same time, Ryder acknowledged Turkey's "legitimate security concerns." [2]
    • There are currently some 900 US troops on the ground in Syria. US forces were reportedly 300 yards away from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) base in Hasakah, Syria, at the time of the airstrike. [3]
    • Wednesday's statements from the Pentagon and CENTCOM are the strongest condemnations so far from the US of NATO ally Turkey's air operations. Ankara began escalated attacks against Kurdish forces in northern Syria after the Nov. 13 deadly bombing in Istanbul. [4]
    • According to US officials, Turkish forces have carried out at least 100 air, drone and artillery strikes on northern Syria over the past four days. The SDF claims that 18 civilians and three soldiers have been killed. [5]
    • SDF's commander, Gen. Mazloum Abdi, has urged US Pres. Joe Biden to prevent Turkey's Pres. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan from following through on his threats to launch a ground offensive in retaliation for the bombing in Istanbul. The SDF denies involvement. [6]
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    Spin

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Turkey has been forced to conduct its own counterterrorism operations in northern Syria and northern Iraq because the US has continuously disregarded its NATO ally's security concerns. In order to fight ISIS in the region, Washington has provided military training and support to the PKK and its Syrian affiliate, YPG, despite designating it a terrorist organization. Turkey has no choice but to escalate action to protect itself.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Turkey's obsession with Kurdish terrorism has dangerously escalated the situation in northern Syria, putting American forces at risk while also destabilizing the coalition's fragile control over ISIS. The SDF has no connection with the militant militia known as PKK and has been working with the US and coalition forces for years. This is not what the US should expect from an ally and sets a dangerous precedent for other alliances.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 94% chance that Turkey will be a NATO member continuously until January 1, 2025, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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