A compound that houses elements of the elite Kurdish Yekineyen Anti-Terror (YAT) unit was bombed by Turkish forces in the early stages of the invasion of Northern Syria.
YAT is a counterterrorism unit created and trained to hunt down Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists. U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) are training, advising, and operating with the elite Kurdish outfit as part of Operation Inherent Resolve, the fight against ISIS.
Even before the Turkish invasion, the Pentagon has denied that American Special Operations units have provided training or material support to the YAT. Sources familiar with the region, however, told SOFREP that the Kurdish counterterrorism unit has received training from both Special Forces Operational Detachment Alphas (ODAs) and Delta Force teams.
Referring to the work of the YAT, the YPG press office said that the “YPG provides no free-ground for any terrorists in Northern Syria, including ISIS sleeper-cells which have been heavily targeted by the YPG Counter Terrorism Units since the battle in Baghouz.”
Aside from considerable material damage, no deaths or injuries have been reported from the bombing.
With respect to the Turkish invasion, the U.S. Secretary of Defence Dr. Mark T. Esper said in a press statement that “we oppose and are greatly disappointed by Turkey’s decision to launch a unilateral military incursion into northern Syria.”
“The safety of our men and women in uniform remains our top priority,” added the American Secretary of Defence. “To be clear, we are not abandoning our Kurdish partner forces, and U.S. troops remain with them in other parts of Syria. But I will not place American service members in the middle of a longstanding conflict between the Turks and the Kurds. This is not why we are in Syria.”
Echoing Dr. Esper, the British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab had stated on Wednesday that Turkey’s invasion of Northern Syria “risks destabilizing the region, exacerbating humanitarian suffering, and undermining the progress made against Daesh (Islamic State) which should be our collective focus.”
The Kurd-led SDF has asked the U.S. and the Coalition to impose a no-fly zone in the area to minimize the danger to innocent civilians. Such a proposition could be a great step in ensuring that the Turkish military doesn’t get out of control – as it tends to do when faced with unarmed non-combatants.
Turkish forces unilaterally invaded Northern Syria in order to create a safe zone that would act as a buffer between Turkey and its war-torn southern neighbour. In the process, however, Turkey seeks to displace the Kurds of the area and replace them with Syrian refugees. Additionally, if the Turkish military forces are successful, Turkey will gain a potent negotiating card when the time comes to decide the future of the region.
Support the SOFREP community with a lifetime membership. Sign Up Now