Turkish news agency discloses troop positions in Syria, angers US

US troops sit atop an armoured vehicle on a road near the northern Syrian village of Ain Issa on June 3, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / DELIL SOULEIMAN

Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 20 July 2017| 25 Shawaal 1438

The United States reacted angrily on Wednesday after Turkey’s state news agency disclosed the locations of American military posts in northern Syria, a move the Pentagon warned could put lives at risk.

The Anadolu Agency (AA) published a report on Monday detailing the 10 US military facilities’ whereabouts and, in some instances, the number of special operations forces working there.

Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway said the release of sensitive military information exposes coalition forces to “unnecessary risk”.

“While we cannot independently verify the sources that contributed to this story, we would be very concerned if officials from a NATO ally would purposefully endanger our forces by releasing sensitive information,” Rankine-Galloway said.

“We have conveyed these concerns to the government of Turkey,” he added, noting that the Pentagon would not comment on whether the locations listed by AA were accurate.

AA said the bases – two airfields and eight military outposts – are being used to support the Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara views as an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Turkey views the PKK as a terrorist organisation and the group has waged an insurgency since 1984 that has killed more than 40,000 people in Turkey.

Despite being NATO allies, the US and Turkey have a fraught relationship over the current US-led coalition effort to defeat the Islamic State (IS) group in northern Syria.

The US is relying heavily on YPG and other Kurdish elements to conduct the fighting on the ground and it has shipped weapons to the Kurds in a move that infuriated Turkey.

AA said one post in the town of Ayn Issah in northern Raqqa governorate housed about 200 US soldiers and 75 French special forces.

Rankine-Galloway urged all factions to remain focused on the fight against IS.

Movie-maker arrested
Meanwhile, a Turkish court ordered the formal arrest of a film producer after he made a controversial movie showing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held at gunpoint in a bloody coup d’etat, reports said on Wednesday.

Ali Avci was detained by police last week on suspicion of links to the group blamed by Ankara for the – real life – failed coup in July 2016 that tried to overthrow Erdogan.

Avci was subsequently formally arrested over “managing an armed terror organisation” by an Istanbul court, Hurriyet daily reported.

The trailer for Avci’s new film Uyanis (Awakening) caused controversy even before it hit theatres, just days before the first anniversary of the coup attempt.

Uyanis’s trailer features the killing of Erdogan’s family – including his wife Emine and his son Bilal – in their house in the Kisikli district of Istanbul while Erdogan is shown being held at gunpoint.

Source – Middle East Eye