Pentagon: Trump Consulted With US Defense Secretary Over Turkish Military Action in Syria
22:21 08.10.2019(updated 00:03 09.10.2019)
US President Donald Trump consulted with both US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley "over the last several days" regarding the potential Turkish military action in Syria, Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman revealed Tuesday.
"Unfortunately, Turkey has chosen to act unilaterally," reads Hoffman's statement. "As a result we have moved the US forces in northern Syria out of the path of potential Turkish incursion to ensure their safety."
"We have made no changes to our force presence in Syria at this time," it added.
Hoffman's latest remarks come just a day after Syrian media reported that Turkish jets had struck military bases used by the Syrian Democratic Forces near the city of al-Malikiya in the Hasakah province. Late Monday, reports also surfaced that Turkish officials had conducted airstrikes at the Samalka checkpoint on the Syrian-Iraqi border, where two bridges were reportedly destroyed.
However, hours after reports first surfaced, a senior US official revealed during a conference call with the media that US officials hadn't been able to confirm any signs that the Turkish military had in fact carried out any military actions within war-torn Syria.
The American official also noted that the Pentagon has not initiated a troop withdrawal from Syria, and that some 50 US soldiers are only being transported across the northern parts of the country. "We're talking about a small number of troops that will move to other bases within Syria. That orderly withdrawal is taking place now," the official said during the call, before adding that the "Turks are seriously considering or intent on a military operation in the region."
The Turkish Defense Ministry has indicated that all preparations for said military action have been completed, stating in a release that the establishment of a safe zone is of utmost importance in order to create "stability and peace of our region."
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