Report: U.S. Military Patrolling Northeast Syria, Kurds Say More to Come

A convoy of US military vehicles drives through the Syrian northeastern town of Qahtaniyah on the border with Turkey on October 31, 2019. - US forces patrolled part of Syria's border with Turkey today in the first such move since Washington withdrew troops from the area earlier this month, an …
DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty

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.

“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.”

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