U.S. fighter jets conducted precision airstrikes against a recently abandoned base yesterday to prevent Turkey from taking advantage of the facilities’ military usefulness.
Turkey is a NATO ally, but perhaps only ostensibly.
The airstrikes destroyed an ammunition cache on the base, which trained U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters in the ongoing fight against the Islamic State.
It served as the headquarters for America’s anti-ISIS efforts in Syria.
Last weekend, Turkish forces fired at U.S. positions in Syria, which some military officials say was deliberate. (Business Insider)
According to WSJ, Turkish-backed troops advanced on the facility, which had been used to equip and train SDF fighters against ISIS, on Tuesday, leading US officials to quickly withdraw US troops and destroy the base on Wednesday.
As the Turkish-back fighters moved closer, US troops attempted to repel them, using F-15s and Apache helicopters as a show of force to warn them away while US troops were still there. But, according to The Wall Street Journal, the airpower failed to dissuade the Turkish-backed forces; SDF fighters fled and set fire to their part of the base, and US troops left before US assets destroyed the base.
Insider reached out to the US operation in Syria to request more information about what assets were used to destroy the base, but did not receive a response by press time. It is also unclear what was being held in the base, although The Wall Street Journal noted that it had previously been used to store light arms and ammunition for the SDF.
Last Friday, Turkish forces fired at an American position in Syria; while no casualties were sustained it came after reassurances from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley that Turkey knew where US troops were stationed. An officer familiar with the situation told The Washington Post that the incident was likely not accidental, as Turkish forces were aware of the US position, and had been for months.