Turkey’s military struck at Syrian-Iraqi border to prevent Kurdish forces using the route to reinforce northeast Syria, as Ankara prepares to launch an offensive there after a surprise U.S. troop pullback, Turkish officials said.
Turkey said it is ready to advance into northeast Syria, after the US began pulling back troops from the Turkey-Syria frontier in an abrupt policy shift widely criticised in Washington as a betrayal of US allies.
The US move will leave Kurdish-led forces long allied to Washington vulnerable to attack by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), which brands them terrorists because of their links to Kurdish militants who have waged a long insurgency.
Giving details of the strike, a security official said one of the main goals was to cut off transit route between Iraq and Syria often used by Kurdish armed groups 'before the operation in Syria'.
'In this way, the group’s transit to Syria and support lines, including ammunition, are shut off,' the official said.
It was not clear what damage was done or whether there were casualties. Details of the strike, a joint operation by Turkey’s intelligence service and the military, were hazy. One official described them as an air strike, while the others said the site was made 'unusable through various means'.