U.S. resumes patrols with SDF in northern Syria - Pentagon
The United States has fully restarted patrols in northern Syria with Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Pentagon said on Tuesday, after they had been paused because of Turkish strikes in the region.
“I can tell you that the partner operations with the Syrian Democratic Forces have resumed; they resumed in full on December 9,” Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder said on Tuesday.
Asked if the department of defense has been able to convince Turkey to hold off a ground offensive into Syria, Ryder replied he did not “want to speak for Turkey.”
Following the explosion that hit Istanbul’s historic Istiklal Avenue on November 13, Turkey has launched an aerial bombardment into Northern Syria, targeting People’s Protection Units (YPG), which forms the backbone of the SDF.
Since the launching of the airstrikes on Nov.19, Turkish officials including President Recep Tayyip frequently say that the aerial operation will be followed by a land offensive. Erdogan said Turkish military will carry out a ground offensive when “convenient”.
The SDF has long warned that fighting off a new Turkish incursion would divert resources away from protecting a prison holding IS fighters or targeting ISIS (Islamic State) sleeper cells still waging hit-and-run attacks in Syria.
Ryder last month also said that the air strikes in Syria directly threatened the safety of U.S. personnel who are working with local partners to defeat ISIS. Asked if U.S. troops have been put at risk since then, Ryder replied “Not to my knowledge.”