Jan 25 2018

No change in U.S. posture in Manbij, despite Turkey’s confrontation warning – Pentagon

The Pentagon said there would be no changes in the location of U.S. troops, despite Turkey’s threats to expand military operations in the Syrian Kurdish enclave of Afrin to Manbij, where U.S. troops are present.

Joint Staff Director of the U.S. Department of Defence, Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., was quoted by AP as saying that the United States is tracking the movement of Turkish troops, and that the U.S. was coordinating closely with Turkey on the whereabouts of its forces in the region.

McKenzie downplayed the chances of U.S. troops being threatened, but still noted that they will defend themselves if necessary, AP said.

Dana White, chief spokeswoman for the Pentagon, said she was aware of news reports that Turkey has asked the U.S. military to leave Manbij, but was not aware of any direct conversations about it, AP quoted her as saying. At this point, the Pentagon is not aware of any changes in the location of U.S. troops there, the AP report said.

Meanwhile at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the U.S. President Donald Trump's homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, was quoted by AP as saying that it would be a “terrible outcome” if Turkish troops clashed with “the proxy forces that we have all been relying on to defeat ISIS, especially if there are U.S. advisers in the region.”

There could be “grave consequences to any miscalculation and escalation,” Bossert said.