Pentagon says Turkish airstrikes threatened US personnel in northern Syria

US recognizes Türkiye’s legitimate security concerns, says Pentagon spokesman.

Pentagon says Turkish airstrikes threatened US personnel in northern Syria

The Pentagon expressed concern Wednesday about Türkiye's airstrikes in northern Syria, saying they posed a threat to US personnel and harmed the fight against the Daesh/ISIS terrorist group.

"Recent airstrikes in Syria directly threatened the safety of U.S. personnel who are working in Syria with local partners to defeat ISIS and maintain custody of more than ten thousand ISIS detainees," said Spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder in a statement.

Ryder said the US recognizes Türkiye’s legitimate security concerns and added "we will continue to discuss with Türkiye and our local partners maintaining cease-fire arrangements."

Early Sunday, Ankara launched Operation Claw-Sword, a cross-border aerial campaign against the YPG/PKK terror group which has illegal hideouts across the Iraqi and Syrian borders where they plan attacks on Turkish soil.

Ryder said the Pentagon is "deeply concerned by escalating actions in northern Syria, Iraq and Türkiye," adding that the escalation "threatens the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS’s years-long progress to degrade and defeat ISIS."

He also said that "uncoordinated military actions" threatened Iraq’s sovereignty.

"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 committed to the defeat-ISIS mission," Ryder said.

"We condemn the loss of civilian life that has occurred in both Türkiye and Syria as a result of these actions and offer our condolences. We are also concerned by reports of the deliberate targeting of civilian infrastructure," he added.

The airstrikes came in response to a YPG/PKK terrorist attack on Nov. 13 on Istanbul's crowded Istiklal Avenue that killed six people and left 81 injured.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said earlier that more than 250 terrorists have been "neutralized" in the Turkish airstrikes.

Hüseyin Demir

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