According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, the US military is responsible for destroying its own anti-ISIS headquarters in Syria. The reports say the purposeful destruction of the headquarters was to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands- fighters backed by Turkey.
The Journal reported that Turkish-supported troops were closing in on the facility and forced US officials to quickly pull back US troops and then destroy the base the next day. The headquarters had been used to prepare SDF fighters against ISIS.
As the Turkish back fighters got closer and closer to the base, US troops tried to push them back, using F-15s and Apache helicopters as a display of threat in hopes of warning them away while the base was still occupied by US troops. But, according to the report, the fighters remained unflinching in their quest to storm the base leading to the fleeing of SDF fighters just after they set fire to their portion of the facility. The US troops fled just before the base was destroyed.
Although little information has been released about what was being held inside the base, the WSJ reported that previously it had been used to store ammunition and arms for the SDF.
Last Friday, Turkish forces attacked an American position in Syria but no casualties were reported. This came after Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said that Turkey knew where US troops were stationed. An officer familiar with the incident was quoted by The Washington Post as saying that it was unlikely that this attack was accidental as the Turkish forces had been aware of the US position for months.
Col. Myles. B. Caggins, a spokesperson for the US-led coalition to defeat ISIS, tweeted, “#Coalition forces continue a deliberate withdrawal from northeast #Syria. On Oct. 16, we vacated the Lafarge Cement Factory, Raqqa, and Tabqah.”
Two F-15s also carried out an airstrike on the LaFarge Cement Factory to keep munitions and military equipment from falling into the hands of the Turkish-backed armed groups, according to a coalition spokesman.
The US has previously imposed sanctions on Turkey because of it’s journey into the once Kurdish-controlled northeastern Syria, however holding up a $100 billion trade deal between the two NATO allies AND imposing once again a 50% tariff on Turkish steel exports has had no effect on Erdogan. US officials are expected to pull out harsher sanctions in the event that Erdogan refuses a ceasefire.