Pentagon: Turkey Did Not Coordinate With U.S., Coalition Regarding Airstrikes
The Pentagon said the Turkish government had not coordinated with the United States and anti-Islamic State (ISIS) Coalition forces regarding airstrikes the country carried out in the Kurdistan Region and northern Syria.
Pentagon Spokesman, Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway, said on Tuesday (April 25) that the United States had expressed concern to the government of Turkey.
“These airstrikes were not approved by the Counter ISIS Coalition and led to the unfortunate loss of life of our partner forces in the fight against ISIS, including the Kurdish Peshmerga,” the spokesman added.
“Given the extraordinarily complex battlespace in these areas, it is vital that Turkey and all partners in the defeat-ISIS effort coordinate their actions closely as we work together to maintain maximum pressure on ISIS and ensure the safety of all Coalition personnel in theater,” he continued.
The Pentagon reaffirmed that military actions in Iraq should involve respecting the country’s sovereignty, Rankine-Galloway noted, confirming “unwavering U.S. support” for Iraq’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“We recognize the threat the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] poses to Turkey, but Turkey cannot pursue that fight at the expense of our common fight against terrorists that threaten us all,” he stated.
Turkish warplanes shelled the Sinjar region at 2am on Tuesday resulting in the death of one member of the PKK-affiliated Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), as well as five Peshmerga.
Around the same time, Turkish warplanes also bombarded the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northeastern Syria. The spokesman for the YPG said that 20 YPG members had been killed as a result of Turkish airstrikes in the Mount Karacok area of northeastern Syria.
In total Turkish warplanes hit 39 suspected positions of the PKK in a one-hour aerial bombardment on the mountains of Sinjar and Karacok.
The United States Department of Defense said meetings were ongoing to deescalate tensions in Sinjar and Syria, after Turkish warplanes launched airstrikes in both areas.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said however that Turkey had informed the United States and Russia as well as Masoud Barzani in the Kurdistan Region about the airstrikes in Sinjar and Syria.
The Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Peshmerga said in a statement shortly after the shelling on Sinjar that the airstrikes on the Peshmerga were “unacceptable,” while also urging the PKK to withdraw its fighters from Sinjar.
The air raids on Sinjar came after Turkish officials have repeatedly said Turkey would not allow Sinjar to become another Qandil – a mountainous area in the Kurdistan Region where the PKK has formed a base over recent years.