“The attack missed the US convoy by 100 meters”
The Pentagon has confirmed that the recent suspected Turkish drone attack near Sulaymaniyah Airport in Iraq, which targeted the convoy of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Commander Mazlum Abdi, took place more than 100 meters away from his location and the US military personnel who were in the same convoy.
Pentagon Spokesperson Patrick Ryder made these remarks during a press briefing on Thursday, in response to a question from the reporter of Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu about the presence of US forces in the convoy.
Ryder cited the fight against ISIS as the reason for the convoy’s visit to Sulaymaniyah.
Ryder confirmed that there were no casualties in the explosion and that the attack took place more than 100 meters away from their location, as verified by US Central Command (CENTCOM), which is currently investigating the incident.
The Pentagon spokesperson also emphasized that the coalition's focus in the fight against ISIS is in Iraq, where US forces provide advisory support to Iraqis.
When asked by a TRT World reporter if there were concerns at the Pentagon about US forces traveling with Mazlum Abdi becoming legitimate targets, Ryder responded, "No. We have been partnering with the SDF in the fight against ISIS since 2014-2015. We have a longstanding relationship with them. They are not the PKK."
There has been no definitive statement regarding whether the attack was carried out by Turkey.
In a subsequent statement, Mazlum Abdi said, "The Turkish state is not targeting me for the first time, and I know that this will not be the last."
Prior to the attack, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs had announced the closure of Turkish airspace to flights from Sulaymaniyah International Airport until July 3, citing the "activities of the PKK in Sulaymaniyah" as the reason.
Following the attack, the President of Iraq had officially demanded an apology from Turkey.