Turkish troops shelled a US Special Forces unit in northern Syria on Friday, apparently ‘by mistake’, as they moved in on Kurdish fighters days after President Trump said he would remove American soldiers from the region.
No one was injured and the artillery fell several hundred meters from where the US troops were stationed, according to CNN. The Pentagon has not yet commented.
The shelling occurred on Mashtenour hill in Kobani, a border city under Kurdish control. Turkish forces are moving in on the region to reclaim it from the YPG, a group of Kurdish fighters.
Turkish forces allege that YPG fighters are planning to launch attacks over the border from the area.
Members of the Turkish-backed Syrian Free Army enter Syria’s Rasulayn clear the town on Friday
It wants to move in and create a ‘safe zone’, wiping out the Kurds and any ISIS prisoners being kept there.
Earlier this week, Trump agreed to remove US Special Operation Units which have been in the region for years, bolstering the Kurds in their fight against ISIS, and the Syrian Army.
Newsweek cited anonymous Department of Defense officials who said it was unlikely that the Turkish army would mistake US troops for Kurds in that case and that they would be aware of US positions ‘down to the grid.’
Both a senior Pentagon official and a Iraqi Kurdish intelligence official confirmed the shelling.
A map of the region shows how it is divided between Turkey, the Kurds, and the Syrian regime
CNN reporter Michael Holmes tweeted that he too had confirmation of the incident.
‘Turkish artillery hit close to a US special operations unit near Kobani on Friday, US official confirms.
‘The artillery shells hit several hundred meters from where the US special ops forces were located. There are no US injuries,’ he said.