US Launched Airstrikes On Its Abandoned Ammo Storage & Command Center In Syria

In what appears a final major parting shot as the United States continues its rapid draw down from Syria, the Pentagon has revealed it conducted an airstrike on a munitions storage bunker at a US base on Wednesday to "reduce the facility's military usefulness" after invading Turkish forces threatened it

An official US coalition statement identified the strike on a US military compound located between Kobani and Ain Issa near the Turkish border, specifically at the sprawling Lafarge Cement Factory, which had served as a de facto anti-ISIS coalition command center for the last couple years of the war since it had been wrested from Islamic State terrorists.

Fire at Ras al-Ayn, Syria, caused by bombardment by Turkish forces this week. Image source: AFP

The military described that a pair of F-15 jets "successfully" conducted the targeting of the ammo storage site, destroying what the Pentagon wanted to ensure didn't get left behind, calling it a “pre-planned precision airstrike” before Turkish-backed fighters could take control.

This also included HQ facilities such as "latrines, tents and other parts of the Syria headquarters" which the US didn't want utilized by hostile forces. 

It was part of the "show of force" against nearby Turkish-backed groups, which had been described in reports Wednesday as having come "too close" amid the 'deliberate' draw down of US forces. 

Satellite image of the aftermath at the site, via Syria Live Map.

"On Oct. 16, after all Coalition personnel and essential tactical equipment departed, two Coalition F-15Es successfully conducted a pre-planned precision airstrike at the Lafarge Cement Factory to destroy an ammunition cache, and reduce the facility's military usefulness," coalition spokesman US Army Col. Myles Caggins said.

Lafarge factory before the war, and even for the first few years into the conflict, had been Syria's largest cement factory, owned and operated by a French company.

Defense officials further said the US ensured no other forces were in the vicinity when operation occurred, given potential they would have mistaken it for an attack on their positions.

The US-backed and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had also set fire to their part of the base just ahead of the airstrikes, according to reports, in what appeared a highly coordinated attempt to make sure it's no longer usable as a military post.

The base at Lafarge had also been central to the Pentagon's so-called 'train-and-equip' program for the Syrian Kurdish fighters, who have since struck a deal with the Syrian government to repel advancing Turkish forces together.