Badrakhan Ahmed / A.B
A US F-16 shot down an armed Turkish drone after it flew too near US forces in northeastern Syria and ignored warnings to remain away. Officers mentioned this was the primary time the US had shot down a airplane from Turkey, a NATO member.
Brigadier Common of the Air Drive. Gen. Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, mentioned it was an “unlucky incident” and mentioned US forces needed to run into bunkers at their base in Hasakah to hunt security whereas Turkey bombed Syrian Kurdish fighters lower than a mile away.
The Syrian Kurds are working with about 900 American troopers in Syria to pursue the remnants of the Islamic State, or ISIS. However Turkey considers these Syrian Kurds allied with Kurds residing in Turkey who oppose the Turkish authorities, which considers them terrorists.
One protection supply informed NPR that US floor forces made “dozens of calls” to Turkish army officers stating that US forces had been on the bottom within the space, even offering an in depth location and saying the US would act in self-defense within the occasion of a sinking. He didn’t depart the realm and the supply mentioned there was no response from Turkish officers, and an F-16 destroyed the drone.
“The choice was made primarily based on due diligence and the pure proper of self-defense to take applicable motion to guard American forces,” Ryder mentioned.
Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke together with his Turkish counterpart and talked about shut coordination between the 2 international locations, a dialog Ryder described as “productive.” The brand new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Workers, Common CQ Brown, spoke with the Chief of Common Workers of the Turkish Armed Forces, Common Metin Gorak, by telephone.
“The 2 leaders mentioned our shared objective of defeating ISIS and the necessity to comply with joint deconfliction protocols to make sure the security of our personnel in Syria following right now’s incident,” Joint Chiefs of Workers spokesman Colonel Dave Butler mentioned.
A Turkish Protection Ministry official informed Reuters that the downed drone didn’t belong to the Turkish Armed Forces, however didn’t present additional particulars.
Ongoing tensions between the US and Turkey
The downing of the drone comes amid long-standing tensions between the US and Turkey over American help for Syrian Kurdish fighters, the Folks’s Safety Models. Turkish forces elevated their assaults on these fighters, whereas the US launched steady assaults and captured ISIS leaders.
Turkey launched a sequence of drone assaults on Thursday, focusing on fuel and oil stations. The safety forces mentioned in an announcement that the Turkish assaults killed six members of the Inner Safety Forces in northeastern Syria and two civilians in two separate raids. Türkiye additionally bombed targets in Iraq that it mentioned had been a part of the outlawed Kurdistan Employees’ Get together.
Whereas the US defeated the ISIS caliphate in 2019, there are nonetheless pockets of ISIS within the nation. US officers say there have been a minimum of two coaching camps lately focused.
That very same 12 months, American forces had been attacked by Turkish artillery, and an American soldier informed NPR that his unit almost retaliated.
In 2020, NPR visited an oil subject in northern Syria close by of the Turkish border that was protected by troopers from the West Virginia Nationwide Guard. Armed drones struck the location earlier than daybreak, dropping bombs that left giant round holes within the floor and marks on certainly one of their army vehicles.
“We instantly jumped out and acquired within the automotive,” mentioned Sgt. 1road Class Mitch Morgan. “We had been out inside two minutes. Whereas we had been leaving, they had been raining mortar shells on us.”