U.S. troops near the northern Syrian border came under artillery fire from Turkish forces, although no injuries were reported, the U.S. Department of Defense said Friday.
U.S. troops in the vicinity of the northern Syrian city of Kobani came under artillery fire from Turkish positions at approximately 9:00 p.m. local time (1800 GMT) on Friday, the Pentagon said in a statement.
“The explosion occurred within a few hundred meters of a location … in an area known by the Turks to have U.S. forces present,” the statement said.
“All U.S. troops are accounted for with no injuries. U.S. forces have not withdrawn from Kobani,” it said.
“The U.S. demands that Turkey avoid actions that could result in immediate defensive action,” it added.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said earlier in the day that he had expressed strong opposition to Turkey’s actions to his Turkish counterpart Hulusi Akar, reiterating that the offensive caused damage to the U.S.-Turkey relationship.
Esper also made clear to Akar that the Turkish offensive risks serious consequences for Turkey, but the Pentagon chief did not elaborate.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on the same day that President Donald Trump would give the Treasury authority to designate individuals and entities of the Turkish government involved in human rights abuses or actions leading to the further deterioration of peace, security and stability in northeast Syria.
“We can shut down the Turkish economy if we need to,” Mnuchin said in a briefing at the White House.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday said that Turkey would retaliate if the United States imposed sanctions over its offensive into northeast Syria, according to media reports.
Earlier Wednesday, Turkey launched military operations targeting the Kurdish forces in several parts of northeast Syria after the United States started pulling its troops out of there following a recent decision.
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