The Turkish defence sector has criticized recent military exercises carried out by U.S. forces in collaboration with Kurdish units in northeastern Syria. Turkish Defense Minister Yaşar Guler deemed these exercises as an “unacceptable” measure.
In a statement to the Turkish newspaper Sabah, Guler expressed his disapproval, stating, “Last week, the U.S. military conducted exercises with terrorists. We are closely monitoring every event, and this situation is unacceptable.”
During an annual assessment meeting on Saturday, Guler announced that, “Since the beginning of January, the Turkish army has neutralized 2,084 terrorists, including in northern Iraq and Syria.” He added that “a total of 1,110 terrorist targets (Kurdish units) have been destroyed in northern Iraq and Syria, particularly in the past four months,with 820 terrorists neutralized,” as reported by the Turkish Anadolu Agency.
Commenting on the exercises, the Turkish newspaper Milliyet noted that the Turkish statement was issued by the Ministry of Defense, not the Foreign Ministry. Sources within Turkish defense confirmed that “the United States is well aware that Turkey knows the ranks, names, and even the state of ammunition of American soldiers.” The report urged the United States to act as a genuine ally, suggesting that cooperation with terrorist organizations must cease for the US to gain the support and trust of the Turkish people. It further emphasized that the US ambassador in Ankara should consider the possibility that Turkey might cease to act as an ally.
On December 12th, Guler criticized U.S. support for Kurdish Units, stating, “Some friendly countries provide all kinds of support to terrorists,” and emphasized the need to keep terrorists away from Turkish territory. Ankara aims to maintain a presence in eastern Syria to safeguard its borders from “security threats” posed by PKK organizations, according to the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah.
In a related context, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared on December 6 that “soon we will clean the Tal Rifaat area and other areas in northern Syria from terrorist organizations (Kurdish units).” He explained that the objective is to secure areas near Turkish borders where terrorists, especially in Tal Rifaat, tend to gather, as reported by the Turkish Anadolu Agency.
What is the nature of the military exercises conducted in eastern Syria?
In December, US forces in Syria initiated joint military exercises with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), predominantly composed of Kurdish units, under the banner of “Blue Arrow Maneuvers.” These maneuvers occurred at the military base established by Washington in Qasrok, situated 12 km west of the U.S. forces base in Tal Baydar. Simultaneously, joint military exercises were carried out between the SDF and U.S. forces in various bases located in eastern Syria.
Sources from Athr Press revealed that the exercises in Qasrok involved approximately 300 members of the elite forces within the SDF, who specialized in supporting U.S. forces in landing and raiding operations.
In the southern outskirts of the city of Hasakeh, U.S. forces conducted military exercises in collaboration with the SDF at the U.S. base in the Conoco gas field, located north of Deir-ez-Zor. These exercises coincided with the ongoing military drills at the Qasrok base in western Hasakeh.
Sources from Athr Press in the northeastern outskirts of Hasakeh governorate confirmed that US forces conducted military exercises at the end of the previous month within the Kharab al-Jir base in the al-Yarubiyah countryside. The exercises involved 80 members of the SDF, with a particular focus on airdrops and the execution of several airdrop operations in the region.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.