Pentagon jets scrambled — The United States Thursday had to protect their special forces who advising Kurdish fighters in Syria, targeted by Syrian bombings near Hasaka (northeast), according to the Pentagon Friday, as reported by AFP.
“This was done as a measure to protect coalition forces,” said Captain Jeff Davis, spokesman for the Pentagon, about the confrontation which occurred Thursday and which marks a further escalation in the bloody conflict in Syria. “We will ensure their safety and the Syrian regime would be well-advised not to do things that place them at risk… We view instances that place the coalition at risk with utmost seriousness and we do have the inherent right of self defense.”
“We have clearly shown that American aircraft would defend ground troops if they were threatened,” said Mr. Davis.
Thursday’s strikes were conducted by Syrian bombers SU-24 and have targeted the Kurdish forces who are trained under the supervision of US special advisers. It was the first time since the conflict began in Syria in March 2011 that the army of the Syrian air had struck Kurdish positions.
These warnings do not seem to have been heard because the planes of the Syrian regime have struck again on Friday areas held by Kurdish forces in Hasaka. Early on Thursday, ground forces tried to contact the pilots to make them stop their strikes, but without success.
US forces then contacted Russia, ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, which has been some areas in Syria for almost a year, but the Russians have stressed that it was in the case Syrian planes which were conducting the attack. “It’s very unusual, we never saw the regime carry out such actions against the Kurdish forces before,” said Jeff Davis. By the time that US planes arrive in the area, the Syrian aircraft had already left. The coalition aircraft are now conducting more patrols in the area.
Two-thirds of Hasaka are controlled by the Kurds and the rest by the regime of President Bashar Assad.
Fierce fighting broke out since Wednesday between pro-regime forces and Kurdish Police (Assayech) after mutual accusations of arrests, making 39 dead, according to Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (OSDH).
Kurds in Syria (15% of the population) self-proclaimed in March a “federal region” and dream of linking the areas under their control in the north. Kurdish fighters have become, especially in the eyes of Washington the most effective force against the jihadists of the Islamic State group (ISIS).