HASAKAH, Syria — A Turkish airstrike that martyred two members of the Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) Anti-Terror Units (Yekîneyên Antî Teror, YAT) was only 130 meters away from US forces stationed at the same military base.
“One of the strikes hit within 130 meters of U.S. personnel, so American forces are at risk. Any extension of these attacks will drive up that risk,” Col. Joseph Buccino, spokesman for US Central Command (CENTCOM), told David Ignatius in an email. “These strikes have already placed the ISIS mission at risk.”
There are approximately 900 US military personnel in North and East Syria who, alongside their SDF partners, combat the Islamic State (ISIS) and work towards ensuring the group cannot reemerge in force in the region.
On Wednesday, Pentagon Press Secretary Brigadier General Patrick Ryder stated that the Turkish bombings in Syria pose a direct threat to the safety of American forces who are working there with the SDF.
“Immediate de-escalation is necessary in order to maintain focus on the defeat-ISIS mission and ensure the safety and security of personnel on the ground,” he said. “We will continue to discuss with Turkey and our local partners maintaining cease-fire arrangements.”
US soldiers were at the targeted facility only five days before the Turkish strike.
In addition to targeting military sites during its recent campaign of airstrikes, Turkey has targeted hospitals, schools, power infrastructure, and security points at Al-Hol Refugee Camp which houses 10,000 people associated with ISIS.
It is unclear if any of the detainees in Al-Hol managed to escape following the airstrike.