U.S. troops used armored vehicles to conduct a patrol of the border between Syria and Turkey on Thursday, according to witnesses who saw American flags flying from the vehicles.
It was the first such patrol since President Donald Trump said he withdrew U.S. troops from northeastern Syria, but the Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Force (SDF) said it will not be the last.
US. forces have returned to northen Syria: conducted a patrol on the Syria-Turkey border today pic.twitter.com/2bLFDNhTiP
— Amichai Stein (@AmichaiStein1) October 31, 2019
“All Coalition military operations are de-conflicted with other forces operating in the region,” said Col. Myles Caggins, a spokesman for the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition in Syria, when asked about the patrol.
AFP reported the patrol of five armored vehicles was conducted in coordination with Turkish forces in the region and was accompanied by Kurdish fighters from the SDF. The SDF said the patrol was not a “one-time” event.
Turkey’s pro-government newspaper Sabah derisively described the Kurds riding with the patrol as members of “PKK’s Syrian offshoot People’s Protection Units (YPG)-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).” The PKK is the violent Kurdish separatist organization in Turkey.
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP the purpose of the U.S. presence in the area is to “prevent Russia and the pro-regime forces from reaching the lands to the east of the Kurdish de-facto capital of Qamishli.”