The U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State has dismissed threatening remarks by a chief adviser to the Turkish president against U.S. troops in Syria as “irresponsible.”
On Tuesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s chief aide Ilnur Cevik said in a radio program that the Turkish army may hit U.S. forces patrolling the Turkish-Syrian border.
Mr. Cevik claimed that Turkish rockets may “accidentally” hit US armored vehicles “if they go too far.”
“We find these comments to be irresponsible and unacceptable,” a coalition spokesperson told The Globe Post.
The tensions between the coalition and U.S. ally Turkey unfolded after Ankara carried out raids last week against Syrian Kurdish YPG militias.
Following the assault, the coalition sent servicemen to northern Syria to patrol the border.
“The patrols’ purpose is to discourage escalation and violence between two of our most trusted partners in the fight to defeat ISIS and reinforce the Coalition’s commitment to both Turkey and the SDF [Syrian Democratic Force],” the coalition spokesperson told The Globe Post.
Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman John Dorrian told reporters on Wednesday that “sporadic fire” happens across the Turkish-Syrian border, but noted there were no major security incidents.
Mr. Dorrian said the coalition troops were present in northern Syria to observe, report what they see and reassure allies. He would not call their mission as a peacekeeping one, however.
The United States and Turkey have been partners since 1952 when Ankara joined the NATO.
“Our forces have worked together to promote global security in deployments around the world. We do not intend to change that,” the spokesperson concluded.
In a column published by Daily Sabah on Thursday, a pro-government paper, Mr. Cevik complained about U.S. generals’ military plans in Syria and hoped President Erdogan would change U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s mind about it. The title of his column was “Turkey never threatens allies but also never bands with terrorists against allies!”
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