US expresses deep concern about Turkish air strikes on Kurds in Syria and Iraq
(April 26)After Turkey carried out a series of airstrikes against Kurdish allies in Syria and Iraq, US officials expressed deep concern. Turkish warplanes attacked targets both in northern Syria and also near Singar Iraq.
|A senior US official told CNN that the US was given only about an hour's advance notice by the Turkish military before the strikes. However no US or coalition advisers were in the areas attacked. The Turkish armed forces issued a statement that claimed that they had neutralized 70 PKK terrorist fighters, 40 in Iraq and 30 in northeastern Syria. The PKK is a Kurdish separatist group that has carried out terrorist attacks in Turkey. However Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) a key US ally in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) and also the Kurdish Peshmerga in Iraq also said they had suffered casualties as the result of the Turkish airstrikes.|
"These airstrikes were not approved by the Counter-ISIS Coalition and led to the unfortunate loss of life of our partner forces in the fight against ISIS, including the Kurdish Peshmerga.Given the extraordinarily complex battle space in these areas, it is vital that Turkey and all partners in the defeat-ISIS effort coordinate their actions closely as we work together to maintain maximum pressure on ISIS and ensure the safety of all Coalition personnel in theater."The Peshmerga are the military forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government that enjoys some autonomy from the Iraqi federal government. The group claimed five of its members were killed and nine wounded by the attacks. They blamed the presence of PKK soldiers nearby for the casualties.