US Says Turkish Airstrikes In Syria, Iraq Kill Partner Counter-ISIS Fighters

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With less than an hour's notice to the U.S. -led coalition, Turkey, a U.S. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, conducted airstrikes in northern Syria on Monday night, killing "a significant number" of Kurdish YPG fighters, who have been "very important to the fight against ISIS", Air Force Col. John Dorrian, the spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve, told reporters at the Pentagon on Wednesday. He said it was done more as a "notification as opposed to coordination".

The YPG form the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the main US partner in the battle against IS in northern Syria.

Turkey has insisted that it had informed the United States and Russian Federation before launching strikes against Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq, as Moscow blasted the bombing raids as "unacceptable" and new border clashes erupted.

That amount of time was "inadequate for us to ensure the safety of our forces on the ground; we had forces within six miles of the strike", Dorrian said.

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USA forces operating in northeastern Syria are working in a very large "operations box", Dorrian explained, and need adequate coordination and notification of impending operations in the region to ensure their safety.

The SDF are engaged in an offensive against the Islamic State group in Syria's Raqqa province.

Col. John Dorrian, a US military spokesman, said the lead time failed to provide adequate notice to reposition American forces or warn Kurdish groups with whom the United States is partnering against the Islamic States.

Officials in Baghdad claim Turkey provided less than an hour notification to coalition forces before launching strikes against Kurdish positions in Sinjar, Iraq, and northeastern Syria. "These are our partner forces".

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On April 25, the Turkish Air Force bombed the Kurdish Peoples Protection Units (YPG) General Command HQ in the Mount Karachok near the town of Al-Malikiyah, according to a statement released by the YPG General Command.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry condemned on Wednesday the Turkish airstrikes, warning the Turkish government of undermining Syria's sovereignty. Yıldırm reportedly added that "cooperation against terrorism would continue".

Iraqi Kurdish authorities also demanded the withdrawal of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) fighters from northern Iraq's Sinjar region after the attacks.

Kurdish activists posted a video allegedly showing Arab tribal leaders affiliated with the SDF denouncing the attack and demanding a No-Fly-Zone be established over Kurdish territory north of Syria, an area also known as Rojava. "We call on all forces to remain focused on the fight to defeat ISIS".

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