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US-led coalition’s spokesman Colonel John Dorrian has confirmed reports that the coalition forces patrolled the border area to prevent clashes between Kurds and Turkey in northern Syria, after Turkish jets killed over 20 Kurdish fighters in Syria on 25 April.
“Our forces went up into that area to prevent security incidents from occurring, to observe and report whatever security situation that they saw and to reassure our ally, Turkey, and our partner, the [Kurdish-led] Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who were struck in those Turkish air strikes last week.
The American Colonel said that the Turkish airstrikes against the YPG [a leading member of the US-backed SDF] were conducted without warning “or to properly coordinate what should have been done.”
“So our partner forces were attacked in Syria, as well as in Iraq. The result in Iraq was seven Peshmerga fighters were killed. So the coordination was not done well. Of course, we’ve expressed our condolences to our partners on that,” Col. Dorrian said.
However, he denied that these US patrols visited a funeral for YPG fighters that were killed in Turkish air strikes.
“What I would say is that the force that was attacked was the Syrian Democratic Forces, and those are our partner forces. We were up there to check on them, and then subsequently started patrols to observe any security incidents in the area,” he said.
“With regard to patrols, patrols are going to encounter people. Sometimes they’re going to encounter people that are massed. So, they were just patrolling and performing their mission. There’s nothing more to it than that,” he added. “They’re performing their mission to patrol the area.”
On 25 April, Turkish airstrikes attacked the YPG in northern Syria. According to the YPG, the Turkish army attacked Kurdish positions 67 times in April, prompting 16 armed responses from the YPG.
After the deployment of U.S. troops on the border, the number of incidents have decreased.
“Since they [coalition forces] have been there, we’ve not seen any really significant security incidents. So, their presence there is a calming force,” the coalition spokesperson said.
“It is helpful to what’s going on in Syria and it keeps people, all of our partners, focused on defeating ISIS, which is the biggest threat to security in Syria and the region. And indeed, ISIS poses a threat beyond the region,” Col. Dorrian said.
“We had observed or heard reports of firing across the border and what we’re doing is putting forces in position to observe for themselves what is happening and to reassure our allies on both sides of the border,” he stated.
However, he denied that the US-led coalition’s troops deployed on the Syrian-Turkish border are a peacekeeping force.
“With regard to a peacekeeping role, I think that’s an expanded mission… They’re there for those specific purposes: to observe and report, and to reassure our allies,” he concluded.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News
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