(Photo credit: AP)
CIA Director Williams Burns recently held a phone call with his Turkish counterpart, Hakan Fidan, during which he delivered a “strongly worded message” warning Ankara about its airstrikes against Kurdish militias in northern Syria.
According to unnamed US officials that spoke with Axios, Burns chided Fidan for putting US occupation troops “in danger,” as one of Turkiye’s attacks last week hit a target that was less than a quarter of a mile away from a US base.
Washington, which currently has about 900 soldiers occupying oilfields in northern Syria, has been pressing Turkiye at a high level to stop its military operation and avoid a ground invasion targeting its proxy militias.
“We remain concerned by escalating action in northern Syria, including recent airstrikes, some of which directly threaten the safety of US personnel,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Tuesday.
The Turkish airstrikes started last month in the wake of a terror attack in Istanbul blamed on US-backed Kurdish militant groups, mainly the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the People Protection Units (YPG), which make up the bulk of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
These attacks have reportedly caused severe damage to several occupied oil and gas facilities in northern Syria, putting at least half of them out of commission.
According to estimates, the attack on Al-Suwaidiyah gas plant in the northern Hasakah governorate will cost the SDF about $2.5 million monthly in lost revenue.
Over the past several years, Washington’s forces, with the help of the SDF, have been conducting a major oil trafficking campaign in northern Syria under the guise of “fighting ISIS.”
On 27 November, large reinforcements of US forces entered Syria’s northern region from the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) via the illegal Al-Waleed border crossing, consisting of 100 trucks carrying soldiers and equipment.
Despite suspending their joint operations late last month, US authorities announced earlier this week that the Pentagon would resume full combat operations in northern Syria alongside its Kurdish allies.