(KurdPress) – An unknown number of U.S. special operations forces have surfaced in a Kurdish-controlled city in northern Syria near the Turkish border as the U.S.-led coalition struggles to prevent the war against IS from escalating into a full-blown regional conflict, Military Times reports.
A video posted to social media by @AfarinMamosta, an avid chronicler of the Syrian civil war with a large Twitter following, on June 28 appears to shows American troops in Tal Abyad, a city held by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, since the militia seized it from IS with the help of coalition airstrikes in 2015.
In the video, U.S. troops are driving machine gun-mounted pick-up trucks, or technicals, affixed with large American flags. Their arrival coincides with an uptick in cross-border skirmishes between the YPG and Turkish troops who have been amassing in northern Syria over the past week, joined by proxy forces fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army.
Both the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and a spokesperson for the YPG told Military Times that there has been shelling in the area in recent days.
“This is a response to the Turkish forces who want to enter this area,” a man in the video says, presumably referring to the arrival of the American troops.
The Turkish government considers the YPG a terrorist organization and Turkish forces now seem more focused on fighting the Kurds than on contributing to the campaign to destroy IS.
Washington’s relationship with Turkey is more strained now as the U.S.-led coalition appears to have settled on the YPG as its most vital ally in the fight against IS. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis suggested on June 27 that the U.S. may continue to arm the Kurds after the battle of Raqqa.
This report prepared by KurdPress