Turkey Bombing of Allies Sparks US Concern

TUESDAY- US officials were "deeply concerned" as Turkey conducted a series of airstrikes on US allied Kurdish fighters of the Popular Protection Units (YPG). Though no US coalition advisers or service members were in the immediate vicinity of the strike, (the closest US soldiers deployed were 6 miles away) the strike targeted US allies that were in the struggle against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria.

US and Russian officials were notified approximately one hour prior to the attack, before twenty-four fighter jets and two drones struck their targets. Though both the US and Russia attempted to dissuade the second-largest military in NATO to stand down, the Turks disregarded the warnings. Turkey believes that many of the YPG are linked to outlawed Kurdish Separatists, prompting the strikes. The Iraqi government condemned the attacks conducted on its soil, with the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga, a fighting group with ties to Turkey, also reporting several casualties. 

Mark Toner, the State Department spokesperson, expressed the US's concern over the situation:

"We are very concerned, deeply concerned that Turkey conducted air strikes earlier today in northern Syria as well as northern Iraq without proper co-ordination either with the United States or the broader global coalition to defeat IS."

 Turkey fighter jet deploying air strikes on PKK in northern Iraq. Note: This photograph is not from the airstrikes of April 25th, 2017, but from previous strikes from the ongoing conflict between Turkey and the PKK.

Turkey fighter jet deploying air strikes on PKK in northern Iraq. Note: This photograph is not from the airstrikes of April 25th, 2017, but from previous strikes from the ongoing conflict between Turkey and the PKK.

The Turkish President Erdogan told Reuters such strikes were justified: "We are obliged to take measures. We must take steps."

The US is relying largely on Kurdish fighters on the ground in the frontal push against IS, thus a US military commander met with the Kurdish fighters after the strikes to express solidarity with the group. 

The Pentagon was also one to release statements regarding the offensive:

"These ‎airstrikes were not approved by the Counter-ISIS Coalition and led to the unfortunate loss of life of our partner forces in the fight against ISIS, including the Kurdish Peshmerga," said Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway.

The Turkish Armed Forces claimed to "neutralize" 70 PKK "terrorist" fighters, 40 in northern Iraq and 30 others in northeastern Syria.