Ankara: A state news agency has leaked the locations of 10 U.S. military bases and outposts in northern Syria where the U.S. is leading an operation to destroy the so-called Islamic State in its self-styled capital of Raqqa.
The list published by the Anadolu news agency points to a U.S. presence from one end to the other of the Kurdish self-administration region – a distance of more than 200 miles.
Additionally, it even listed the number of U.S. troops in several locations and in two instances stipulated the presence of French special forces.
Apart from the Obama administration, Turkey has openly criticized the Trump administration for relying in the battle against ISIS on a militia led by Kurds affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK. A separatist movement now at war with Turkey, the PKK has been listed by the U.S., EU, and Turkey as a terror organization.
To avoid the appearance of allying with such a group, the U.S. military set up the Syrian Democratic Forces, which have a large component of Arab recruits. But they are led by officers from the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian affiliate of the PKK.
It is highly unusual for a NATO ally to reveal details of a U.S. military deployment during active operations in a war zone. But, the U.S. operation in Syria is in many respects an unusual case. Not only is the United States acting against the express wishes of NATO ally Turkey, which says its national security is directly endangered, it’s also operating without the permission of the Assad regime.
Turkey’s National Security Council charged that weapons provided to the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia had come into the possession of the PKK. “This shows that both are the same organization,” it said.
“Other countries were using a double standard for terror groups, an apparent reference to the U.S. alliance with the YPG militia,” it added.
The U.S. has denied repeatedly that arms it is supplying to the Kurdish fighters and the Turkish government did not back up its allegations with evidence.