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    A Kurdish fighter from the People's Protection Units (YPG) looks at a smoke after an coalition airstrike in Raqqa, Syria June 16, 2017

    Turkey Tries to 'Sabotage' Raqqa Operation by Disclosing Coalition Bases

    © REUTERS/ Goran Tomasevic
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    Earlier this week Turkey’s news agency Anadolu reported that the United States had a total of 10 military outposts in Syria in the territory controlled by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

    The report identified the locations where the bases were situated and outlined some of their uses, including US-led coalition airstrike coordination and the training of Kurdish fighters.

    Anadolu noted that the locations of the US forces are often designated as "closed zones" and are classified. US ground troops supplement airstrikes and shelling, train local forces and conduct operational planning. Some units also participate in active combat operations.

    The outlet also reported about three more posts in the north of the province of Raqqa, two of which host French troops alongside US personnel. The third transfers equipment to Kurdish forces and acts as a communication center of the US-led coalition forces.

    Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told Sputnik that the disclosure of sensitive military information by Turkish media could potentially disrupt US-led operations against Daesh.

    Meanwhile, Ankara denied its involvement in the report.

    "Anadolu news agency prepared this piece of news [about US bases in Syria] on its own. As a news agency, it could choose this topic. Even in our thoughts, we did not want to take steps that threaten the security of our allies," Turkish Presidential Spokesperson Ambassador Ibrahim Kalin said Thursday at a press conference.

    However, Emre Demir, a prominent Turkish journalist working in France, said that the Turkish government may have possibly been involved in the report.

    "This is a very sensitive report. We should not forget that 90 percent of Turkish media is government-controlled. Such news agencies as Anadolu are controlled by [Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s close circle and his family," Demir told Sputnik France.

    The journalist pointed out that since the information was reported by Anadolu, the Turkish government may be attempting to "sabotage" the military operation in Raqqa while "sending a signal to the US."

    "I think that by doing so Ankara wants to express anger over the cooperation between the US military and Kurdish forces," Demir said.

    The Turkish government considers the PYD and YPG to be affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization. The PYD and the YPG, as well as the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been receiving support from the US in fighting Daesh terrorists in Syria.

    "Ankara sees Kurds as an existential threat, a threat more serious than Daesh. Erdogan cannot just sit and watch Kurds establish an autonomous state while siding with the US and France. This is why Ankara wants to hinder Kurdish military operations backed by the US-led coalition," the journalist said.

    According to Jacques Hogard, a retired French military officer and president of the consulting company EPEE, the public disclosure of sensitive military information could be a "very dangerous blow under the belt" to the US and French militaries.

    "Islamist radicals, including Daesh, gather information and our enemies are very likely to use the information from that report to stage new attacks. The Turkish government is playing a double game. Ankara should explain the situation to NATO," Hogard told Sputnik France.

    He also pointed out that Ankara’s actions are aimed against Kurds backed by the US and other Western allies.

    "I think this is why the disclosure of such sensitive information took place," Hogard concluded.

    Related:

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    Tags:
    Kurds, military conflict, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Syria, United States
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