Turkey, Middle East

US Special Forces join Turkish troops in Cobanbey

Pentagon says moves comes at request of Turkish government

16.09.2016
US Special Forces join Turkish troops in Cobanbey Turkish military tanks and armored vehicles are seen near Turkish-Syrian border in Gaziantep, Turkey during the "Operation Euphrates Shield" led by Turkish Army and backed by Syrian National Coalition forces including Free Syrian Army (FSA) on August 31, 2016. The anti-Daesh operation, called Euphrates Shield, is aimed at clearing terrorist groups from the Turkish border region in Syria, tightening border security, and supporting Syria’s territorial integrity. ( Ensar Özdemir - Anadolu Agency )

By Kasim Ileri

WASHINGTON / ANKARA

U.S. special forces are accompanying Turkish troops and Free Syrian Army fighters along the Turkish border near Jarabulus and Cobanbey in Syria, the Pentagon told Anadolu Agency on Friday. 

The move came “at the request of the government of Turkey”, according to agency spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis.

“U.S. personnel operating with Turkish forces and Syrian opposition forces will provide the same train, advise and assist support they have been providing to other local partners in Syria fighting ISIL,” Davis wrote in an email using an alternative name for Daesh. 

The new development comes as the Free Syrian Army, backed by Turkish artillery earlier in the day, began to move toward Daesh’s stronghold al-Bab, nearly 30 kilometers (20 miles) south of Cobanbey as a part of Operation Euphrates Shield.

Operation Euphrates Shield was launched Aug. 24 by Ankara and aims at improving security, supporting coalition forces and eliminating the terror threat along Turkey’s border using Free Syrian Army fighters backed by Turkish armor, artillery and jets. 

The Syrian town of Cobanbey and Jarabulus city were recently cleared of Daesh terrorists as part of the operation.

Davis said the U.S. would continue to support the counter-Daesh fight in northern Syria because “access to the Syria-Turkey border region is strategically important to ISIL's operations in Syria and Iraq as well as the group's attempts to export terror to Turkey, the wider region, Europe and the United States”.

“Denying ISIL access to this critical border cuts off critical supply routes in and out of Iraq and Syria and further isolates ISIL's so-called 'capital' in Raqqa,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Turkish General Staff released a statement about Operation Euphrates Shield, saying artillery had hit 26 Daesh targets. 

The statement also said an improvised explosive device hit Tatimus area of northern Syria, killing five Syrian opposition fighters and injuring six others.

According to Turkey’s military, four air operations were conducted in the Kunaytirah, Tatimus, Caqqa and Baragidah areas, killing five Daesh terrorists.

Operations in Cobanbey continue with exploration, observation and target acquisition, the military added.

The statement also confirmed that U.S. special operations forces accompanied Turkish troops in Cobanbey.

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