Turkey reveals secret US military locations in Syria

Turkey reveals secret US military locations in Syria
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Turkey's state-run news agency on Wednesday leaked the positions of 10 U.S. military posts in northern Syria, drawing swift criticism from the Pentagon.

Anadolu Agency published a map of 10 locations it said were U.S. military posts. The agency said the points are “usually hidden for security reasons,” but then listed the bases, including two airfields and eight military outposts.

The report also lists the specific districts where the U.S. military is stationed. In one case, Anadolu revealed the number of U.S. soldiers and French special 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.”

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“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.

The United States and Turkey have had a rocky relationship in recent months.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in May strongly criticized President Trump’s decision to arm Syrian Kurds in the fight against ISIS.  

“We want to believe that our allies would prefer [to] be side by side with ourselves rather than with the terror groups,” Erdoğan said.

And after the May attacks on protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington, several lawmakers earlier this month proposed withholding military equipment and visas from the NATO ally in an attempt to force its government to comply with U.S. law.