09:44 GMT17 January 2021
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    Turkey Launches 'Operation Peace Spring' in Northern Syria (82)

    US Special Forces near the Syrian border town Kobani, Aleppo Governorate, came under artillery fire from Turkish positions Friday, the Pentagon reported. No US troops were injured. However, US officials later indicated the troops were forced to vacate their positions as a result.

    Citing a senior Pentagon official and an Iraqi Kurdish intelligence official, Newsweek reported that the attack on US service members unfolded as they were conducting operations on Mashtenour hill, in the Kurdish-majority city of Kobani. 

    ​The outlet reports that the incident came just as US Defense Secretary Mark Esper assured media during a news conference that US forces had been relocated, and that Turkish forces know US positions "down to the grid."

    However, Reuters, citing a US official, reported that an explosion did occur near the Kobani US outpost, but that no injuries have been reported thus far.

    In a statement Friday evening, Pentagon officials confirmed US troops in the vicinity of Kobane had come under artillery fire originating from Turkish positions.

    ​"The explosion occurred within a few hundred meters of a location outside the Security Mechanism zone and in an area known by the Turks to have US forces present," said Navy Capt. Brook DeWalt, Director, Defense Press Operations in the statement. "All US troops are accounted for with no injuries."

    "US forces have not withdrawn from Kobani," he said. "The United States remains opposed to the Turkish military move into Syria outside the Security Mechanism zone and in areas where the Turks know US forces are present. The US demands that Turkey avoid actions that could result in immediate defensive action."

    Following initial reports, the Turkish Defense Ministry has issued a statement, noting that it has taken all measures to ensure that no US base in the area is struck while Turkish forces respond to harassment fire near a US base in Syria.

    Turkey began its military operations in northeastern Syria against Kurdish forces on October 9 in an effort to clear the border regions of terrorists and create a safe zone. Turkey considers US-backed Kurdish soldiers as part of a terrorist organization. Several foreign leaders have come out since the onset of Turkish operations, urging all strikes to cease.

    Turkey Launches 'Operation Peace Spring' in Northern Syria (82)


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