US-led coalition forces exchange fire with Turkish-backed group in Syria

US-led coalition forces exchange fire with Turkish-backed group in Syria
A US-made military vehicle from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US backed Kurdish-Arab alliance, drives in an eastern area of the embattled northern Syrian city of Raqqa on August 15, 2017, as SDF battle to retake the city from Daesh militants. (AFP / Delil Souleiman)
Updated 30 August 2017

US-led coalition forces exchange fire with Turkish-backed group in Syria

US-led coalition forces exchange fire with Turkish-backed group in Syria

BEIRUT: US-led coalition forces returned fire after being repeatedly shot at near Manbij in northern Syria, where they are patrolling near areas held by Turkish-backed rebels, coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon said on Tuesday.
“Our forces did receive fire and return fire and then moved to a secure location,” he said by phone.
The coalition has told Turkey to tell the rebels it backs there that firing on US-led coalition forces “is not acceptable,” Dillon said.
US ground forces are in northern Syria as part of the US-led coalition supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a local alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias battling Islamic State.
Last year, Turkey backed Syrian rebel groups in an offensive next to SDF-held areas aimed at both pushing Daesh (Islamic State) from the border and quelling the expansion of Kurdish influence.
The Turkish-backed rebels and the SDF have often exchanged small arms and artillery fire in other parts of northern Syria where US-led coalition forces are not patrolling.
“Our overt patrols that have been conducting patrols in that area to keep tensions down received fire multiple times over the course of the last two weeks,” Dillon said.
“We let our counterparts in Turkey know this and we continue to conduct these patrols but are always prepared and ready to defend ourselves in that area.” (Reporting by Angus McDowall)