US-Turkey Relations Tense After Drone Shootdown


Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke by phone with Turkish Defense Minister Yasar Guler to discuss the incident…reports Asian Lite News

The US military shot down an armed Turkish drone as it came in proximity to American forces in Syria, the Department of Defense said.

Pentagon Press Secretary Pat Ryder said during a press briefing that commanders assessed that on Thursday a Turkish unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flew “less than a half kilometer from US forces” based in Syria, reports Xinhua news agency.

US. F-16 fighters subsequently shot down the UAV “in self-defense” as the drone was deemed “a potential threat”, Ryder said, adding that the Pentagon had “no indication that Türkiye was intentionally targeting US forces”.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke by phone with Turkish Defense Minister Yasar Guler to discuss the incident.

According to a readout of the phone call provided by Ryder, Austin urged his Turkish counterpart to commit to “de-escalation in northern Syria,” stressing “the importance of maintaining strict adherence to de-confliction protocols and communication through established military-to-military channels”.

“The Secretary acknowledged Turkey’s legitimate security concerns and affirmed his commitment to close coordination between the US and Turkey to prevent any risk to US forces,” the readout said.

The incident marked a rare use of force by the US against one of its allies within the NATO.

Adding to the controversy of the shootdown is the fact that Washington not only counts on Ankara to help defeat the Islamic State terrorist group in the Middle East but also relies on Türkiye’s approval to bring Sweden into NATO in the wake of the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the Turkish air force carried out a series of airstrikes targeting Kurdish militia positions in northern and eastern Syria on Thursday, hitting 24 targets and causing 15 casualties among the Kurdish fighters.

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