The Anadolu Agency, Turkey’s state run news agency leaked information on the location of US bases which drew the ire of the Pentagon. The agency published a list of ten locations including two airfields and eight military bases.
The agency stated that the locations were “usually hidden for security reasons,” but then listed them anyway. The report went further also stating the number of US and French Special Operations Forces stationed at a post in Ayn Issah.
The locations are all in an area controlled by Syrian Kurdish forces known as the Kurdish Democratic Party (PYD) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG). The U.S. supports the groups as they help combat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), but Turkey considers YPG as terrorists.
Pentagon spokesman Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway told The Hill that the Defense Department doesn’t disclose the locations where U.S.-led coalition forces are in Syria are “for operational security reasons.”
“The release of sensitive military information exposes Coalition forces to unnecessary risk and has the potential to disrupt ongoing operations to defeat ISIS,” Rankine-Galloway said.
He added that Pentagon officials have expressed their concerns to the Turkish government.
“While we cannot independently verify the sources that contributed to this story, we would be very concerned if officials from a NATO ally would purposefully endanger our forces by releasing sensitive information, Rankine-Galloway said.
While Turkey is and has been a trusted ally since the Korean War, the civil war in Syria has developed a rift between Washington and Ankara. While both are actively supporting the fight against ISIS and the Islamic State, the US has funded Kurdish rebels, whom the Turks consider terrorists.
To compound matters Turkey has stated that weapons that the US has supplied to the Kurds in Syria have made their way into Turkey and into the hands of the PKK or the Kurdish Workers Party. Turkey, however, didn’t supply any evidence to back up this claim, which the US denies.
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Photo courtesy DOD