Pentagon criticizes Turkish strikes in northern Syria
Black smoke rises after the attack by a Turkish drone near the town of Al-Qahtaniyah in northern Syria.
The airstrikes of Turkey in northern Syria threaten the safety of American military personnel deployed in the region and the escalating situation on the ground endangers years of efforts to fight against the fighters of the armed group State Islamic State (IS), the US Department of Defense said on Wednesday.
These comments represent the strongest condemnation to date by the United States of the air operations carried out for several days by Turkey against Kurdish positions in northern Syria.
The recent airstrikes in Syria have directly threatened the safety of American personnel working in Syria with their local partners to defeat ISIS and to secure the detention of more than 10,000 ISIS members, even though the United States recognizes the legitimate security concerns of NATO member Turkey, Pentagon spokesman General Pat Ryder said in a statement.
The The United States has approximately 900 military personnel deployed in Syria, primarily in the northeast of the country, who work in conjunction with the Syrian Democratic Forces, made up mostly of fighters from the Kurdish militia YPG (People's Protection Units), to combat ISIS jihadists.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that the Turkish army would initiate a ground operation as soon as possible to eliminate Kurdish forces terrorists at a time when skirmishes are increasing on the Turkish-Syrian border.
Ankara considers the YPG to be a branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), active in northeastern Turkey and designated as a terrorist group by the United States and by the European Union.