A US official has informed Reuters that American forces in Syria on Tuesday carried out a “show of force” after Turkish-backed fighters came close to their position in northeast Syria, amid Erdogan's ongoing 'Operation Peace Spring'.
Reuters describes, based on the source:
The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said U.S. military aircraft were flown over the area after troops in northeastern Syria felt the Turkish-backed fighters were too close. The Turkish-backed fighters dispersed after the show of force, the official said.
The Pentagon did not initially confirm the incident, but it is consistent with last Friday's dangerous close encounter wherein US special forces were fired upon, or their position 'bracketed', by Turkish artillery which targeted in front of and behind their location.
The new incident further reportedly involved American F-15 fighters and AH-64 Apache gunships in the “show of force,” described further as a violation of a "standing agreement" between Washington and Ankara not to threaten US troops.
"The Turkish forces violated a standing agreement with the U.S. to not get close enough to threaten U.S. troops on the ground," the official said. "U.S. forces responded with a show of force using aircraft to demonstrate the forces were prepared to defend themselves, as well as communication with the Turkish military through formal channels to protest the risk to U.S. forces." The unnamed official noted that no shots were fired during the incident, given the Turkish-backed forces quickly dispersed.
The Pentagon has confirmed most of its forces have pulled back from contested cities near the border with Turkey, such as Manbij, as the Turkish Army and its 'rebel' proxy units advance and simultaneous with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic forces cutting a historic deal with Damascus and the Syrian Army on Sunday.
A senior US official told reporters the following about the proxy force Turkey is relying on as part of its Syria invasion: "They could have used Turkish regular troops,...Instead they decided to use these thugs & bandits & pirates that should be wiped off the face of the earth"— Ryan Browne (@rabrowne75) October 15, 2019
Meanwhile, Moscow confirmed separately on Tuesday that Russian forces are now on the ground patrolling areas of Northern Syria which were previously occupied by US bases bolstering Kurdish partners which had since 2015 administered the region. Russian military officials said they were moving in to "fill the void left by the withdrawal of U.S. troops".
This appears in accordance with President Trump's 'green light' for such a move which drastically changes the direction of the war. “Others may want to come in and fight for one side or the other,” the president posted on Twitter on Sunday. “Let them!”