Turkish forces in northern Syria “accidentally” shelled a contingent of US Special Forces, according to an exclusive report published Friday by Newsweek Magazine.
The publication was told by an Iraqi Kurdish intelligence official and a senior Pentagon official that the shelling by Turkish forces was so heavy, in fact, that “the US personnel considered firing back in self-defense.”
The US Special Forces were operating on Mashtenour hill in the majority Kurdish city of Kobani when Turkish forces opened artillery fire as part of their “Operation Peace Spring” against the US-backed Kurds.
According to the report, the US Special Forces withheld their fire and withdrew once the shelling ceased, due to US current rules of engagement which direct the forces to restrict fire to self-defense.
However, contrary to some prior media reports, no order has been issued by the Pentagon to completely withdraw from Syria, Newsweek reported, adding that a Pentagon official said that Turkish forces should be aware of US positions “down to the grid.”
It’s not clear how many American forces remain in Syria; Newsweek estimated the number to be “between 15 and 100 troops.”