Moving right along: This popped up over the weekend. Excerpt:
U.S. troops in northern Syria came under artillery fire from Turkish positions on Friday but none were wounded, the Pentagon said, an incident that highlights the risks to U.S. troops as Turkey wages an offensive against U.S.-allied Kurdish militia.
“The explosion occurred within a few hundred meters of a location outside the Security Mechanism zone and in an area known by the Turks to have U.S. forces present,” Navy Captain Brook DeWalt, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement.
DeWalt said that all U.S. troops were accounted for after the incident near Kobane, Syria late on Friday.
U.S. troops have not withdrawn from Kobane, he said.
Turkey’s Defense Ministry said it had taken all measures to ensure that no U.S. base was damaged while it responded to harassment fire that originated near a U.S. base close to Kobane.
“The firing was ceased as a result of the issue being relayed to us by the U.S.,” the ministry said in a statement.
U.S. forces have had a successful partnership with Kurdish YPG militia in Syria to oust the Islamic State group.
In the movie version of Tom Clancy’s Hunt for Red October, there’s a great scene where the late Fred Thompson, playing a U.S. Navy admiral in charge of a carrier task group, rushes to the flight deck to see the wreck of an F-14 that tried to crowd a Soviet Bear away from the task group and, damaged, crashed on landing. Thompson as the admiral snaps angrily, “This thing will get out of control. It will get out of control and we’ll be lucky to live through it.”
That’s what bothers me about this whole Turkey/Syria business. Syria is a festering shithole, true; Turkey is a NATO ally, also true. But the Kurds are also allies, and some of the very few loyally pro-U.S. folks in that part of the world. But the Turks hate them and persecute Kurds within their own borders.
There’s an obvious answer, but it would probably require mediation by some international body. The UN may have been able to do it in the 1950s, but that organization has grown so ossified and so corrupt that it is now essentially useless. Maybe NATO would be able to pull it off. The answer, of course, is a free and independent Kurdistan, carved out of traditionally Kurdish portions of Turkey, Syrian and Iraq. This is part of a recurring issue in this region dating back to 1918, when borders were set arbitrarily with little regard to ethnic and tribal divisions.
Setting up an independent Kurdistan would be a good start on unhosing that goat-screw.