Report: US Special Forces Unit Under Fire from Turkish Shelling in Syria
14 October, 2019, 00:30
American military observers believe that Turkey may have been trying to send a message that it wanted the US forces to leave the area while it continued its offensive against Kurdish positions near its border with Syria.
Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency said that Turkey-backed Syrian opposition forces had taken control of the M-4 highway that connects the towns of Manbij and Qamishli.
But a spokesman for one of the factions said the rebels had yet to take control of the whole town.
The Turkish-backed Syrian rebels said earlier they had cut the road which connects Ras al Ain and Tel Abyad and had captured 18 villages since the operation began.
The takeover also injected further instability in Syria's internecine civil war, which began in 2011 and has since devolved into a multi-front proxy conflict with sectarian-tinged bloodshed.
Members of the Turkish-backed Syrian Free Army enter Syria's Rasulayn clear the town on Friday.
A Pentagon spokesperson confirmed an explosion within a few hundred meters of its post close to the northern Syrian border, in an area "known by the Turks to have USA forces present".
"They're overrated", he said, praising instead the generals who were actually deployed overseas.
"Don't forget they are fighting for their land".
"Sometimes we feel very far away but that doesn't matter".
Aid groups have warned of a looming humanitarian crisis, with civilians struggling to find shelter, food and water. "And the main cause is, because America", Said said, referring to his town. "And we have to bring our great soldiers back from the never-ending wars". "Many people are sleeping in tents".
Noting Islamic State vehicle bomb attacks in Qamishli and Hasaka and Turkish shelling of a jail in Qamishli that the SDF said allowed some IS detainees to escape, Xelil said: "Despite all of this the world is still ignoring this reality and ignoring this coming hell".
The death toll among civilians in Syria had climbed to 20 after two people died in the city of Qamishli, he said.
On Wednesday, Turkey launched an offensive Northern Syria after the withdrawal of the US forces leaving their former ally, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in a deadly confrontation.
Turkey says its aim is to defeat the Kurdish YPG militia, which it sees as an enemy for its links to insurgents in Turkey.
McGurk, who often collaborated with the United States military in Syria before resigning his position in December, emphasised the increasing risks to Americans throughout Syria in an email Saturday.
Turkey's Defense Ministry said there was no firing on the US observation post, adding that it fired in response to an attack on its military posts south of the town of Suruc, across the border from Kobane.
The minister added that Turkey has started a new chapter of blatant assault on Syria's sovereignty, which is a founding member of the Arab League. A senior Pentagon spokesman said the Turkish bombardment was so heavy that USA forces made a decision to return fire for self-defense.
Brett McGurk, a former special envoy for both the Obama and Trump administrations in the campaign against the Islamic State, raised concerns about the incident on Friday, saying on Twitter that the United States had declared the position to Turkey.
The invasion has prompted a raft of global sanctions against Turkey.
"We are destroyed", the 38-year-old told AFP. "But we can shut down the Turkish economy if we need to".
"Now there are threats coming from left and right, telling us to stop this", he said.
President Trump has suggested he would be prepared to use sanctions against Turkey if necessary.
Responding to Germany's announcement, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Germany's Deutsche Welle radio that it was "a question of national security, a question of survival". "The only thing to be done is for these terrorists to lay down arms". "We tried the political solution in Turkey in the past and we saw what happened".
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