US military aircraft conducted a “show of force” in Syria after Turkish-backed fighters came in close proximity to American forces during a Turkish incursion into northeastern Syria, according to an anonymous US official speaking to Reuters on Tuesday.
The anonymous official said that the US military did not open fire but aircraft were directed over the area after troops still stationed in northeastern Syria felt Turkish-backed fighters were too close to them. The show of force by the aircraft saw the Turkish-backed fighters disperse.
The US official said they did not open fire on the Turkish backed Syrian rebels, and that the “show of force” of US aircraft deescalated the situation. The official said the group came from the east, from the town of Ain Issa, towards this US base. #Syria— Hamdi (@HamdiAlkhshali) October 15, 2019
According to the BBC, the Pentagon said that F-15 fighter jets and Apache helicopter gunships had been deployed in the show of force towards the forces supported by Turkey, which is a fellow NATO member, who came close to US troops near the Syrian town of Ain Issa.
This comes as Russian special envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev said that clashes between Syrian and Turkish troops "would simply be unacceptable... and therefore we will not allow it, of course".
The Russian envoy called Turkey's incursion into Syrian territory "completely unacceptable" and said that Turkey has no right to permanently deploy troops in the country beyond the established "safe zone".
President Donald Trump, who threatened sanctions against Turkey following the invasion, also phoned Turkish President Erdogan to demand a halt of the invasion of Syria and an immediate truce earlier on Tuesday.
This follows an agreement between the Syrian Arab Republic and Kurdish forces which has seen the Syrian army begin to return to northeast Syria and towards the border on Monday.
The Turkish advance broke out last week following the announcement by US President Trump that he would be removing US troops from the region, which critics say is tantamount to abandoning the Kurdish forces in Syria.