Turkish Forces Fire Artillery on US Special Forces in Northern Syria

Pentagon says US troops 'considered firing back'

Pentagon officials are reporting that US Special Forces troops came under fire in northern Syria, near the Kurdish city of Kobane. Turkish forces were accused of firing artillery forces at the US troops, though Turkey’s Defense Ministry denied that this was the case.

Pentagon officials say that there were no injuries, but at one point the Turkish fire was so heavy that they “considered firing back.” They did not fire back, and rather withdrew once the firing had stopped.

This incident took place within the “safe zone” that Turkey has intended to take over, despite US officials reporting as recently as the day before that there were no US troops left in that area. Pentagon officials say 15-100 US troops are still in the area, and that Turkey has been informed “down to the grid” where those US forces are.

Most reports are chalking this up to a “mistake,” and it seems unlikely that the US intends to respond, since unnamed officials are the only ones being quoted in the press.

There is some political pressure on President Trump to do something to Turkey in response to the North Syria invasion, and while Trump has threatened sanctions if Turkey crosses an undefined red line, it seems unlikely that this incident, with no casualties, will lead to much more than some harsh statements and rhetoric.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.