In response to the US-led coalition’s policy in Syria and its support for Syrian Kurdish forces, the Turkish state media has exposed US military positions in Syria.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu agency has published an article highlighting 10 American military locations in northern Syria.
The maps, published by Anadolu on Monday, include specific locations of eight military posts and two air bases near the Turkish border as well as troop counts for both US and French forces.
The article lists three points in Hasakeh, two points in Manbij, and three spots north of Raqqa.
The United States first established air bases in Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria in October 2015.
In March and April 2016, the US added supplemental sites in the region.
The Anadolu article suggested this was a retaliatory action by Turkey for weapons ending up in the hands of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, which is assisting the US-led coalition in the fight against ISIS.
“By exposing these secret US military positions, Turkey is clearly providing information to ISIS terrorists to attack the American troops in Rojava-Northern Syria,” a spokesman for the Kurdish YPG forces told ARA News on Wednesday. “We won’t allow Turkey and its terrorist allies to approach these areas.”
President Trump has decided to end the CIA’s covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels battling the government of Bashar al-Assad, a move long sought by Russia, according to U.S. officials.
The program was a central plank of a policy begun by the Obama administration in 2013 to put pressure on Assad to step aside, but even its backers have questioned its efficacy since Russia deployed forces in Syria two years later.
Officials said the phasing out of the secret program reflects Trump’s interest in finding ways to work with Russia, which saw the anti-Assad program as an assault on its interests. The shuttering of the program is also an acknowledgment of Washington’s limited leverage and desire to remove Assad from power.
MOSUL (Reuters) - Islamic State militants began reinventing themselves months before U.S.-backed Iraqi forces ended their three-year reign of terror in Mosul, putting aside the dream of a modern-day caliphate and preparing the ground for a different fight.
Intelligence and local officials said that, a few months ago, they noticed a growing stream of commanders and fighters flowing out of the city to the Hamrin mountains in northeast Iraq which offer hideouts and access to four Iraqi provinces.
Some were intercepted but many evaded security forces and began setting up bases for their new operations.
What comes next may be a more complex and daunting challenge for Iraqi security forces once they finish celebrating a hard-won victory in Mosul, the militants' biggest stronghold.
Intelligence and security officials are bracing for the kind of devastating insurgency al Qaeda waged following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion, pushing Iraq into a sectarian civil war which peaked in 2006-2007.
"They are digging in. They have easy access to the capital," Lahur Talabany, a top Kurdish counter-terrorism official, told Reuters. As part of the U.S.-led coalition, he is at the forefront of efforts to eliminate Islamic State.
"I believe we have tougher days coming.”
Canadian special forces are now directly overseeing what is being called an urgent purchase of weapons and other lethal aid for Kurdish forces, but the military admits it still has no idea when the gear might be delivered.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in February 2016 that Canada would provide such equipment to Kurdish troops in northern Iraq. Because of the urgency of the purchase, the acquisition is being handled by Canadian special forces who are directing the Canadian Commercial Corporation to the specific firms they are to buy the equipment from.
“There is no standard, pre-determined process or timeline for an equipment acquisition of this complexity,” the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Commercial Corporation, a Crown corporation, said in a statement. “Given the ongoing situation on the ground, the requirements are urgent and operational. For this reason, contracts have been awarded on a sole-source basis.”
DND said that the total cost of the equipment being purchased is $9.5 million.
That includes .50-calibre sniper rifles equipped with silencers, 60mm mortars and Carl Gustav anti-tank systems, as well as grenade launchers, pistols, carbines, thermal binoculars, cameras, scopes and medical supplies.
The equipment is being supplied by Canadian firms, according to DND and the Canadian Commercial Corporation.