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Rudaw

Syria

Coalition: We will defend ourselves and our partners

By Rudaw 8/2/2018
Coalition spokesperson Col. Ryan Dillon speaks to Rudaw TV on Thursday.
Coalition spokesperson Col. Ryan Dillon speaks to Rudaw TV on Thursday.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – With coalition forces and their allies in Syria coming under fire in Deir ez-Zor and at the receiving end of threats out of Ankara, the spokesperson for the global alliance stressed that they have the right to defend themselves and will not hesitate to do so. 

The events of Wednesday night show that “our stance is very clear that we will defend ourselves and our partners. If there’s any thoughts of doing this again in the future, I hope that they would think twice about doing that – whoever it may be,” Col. Ryan Dillon told Rudaw TV on Thursday. 

He was speaking about coalition airstrikes on forces that had attacked a known SDF headquarters in Deir ez-Zor, eastern Syria. 

The United States estimates more than 100 pro-Syrian regime forces were killed, a military official told AFP on condition of anonymity. 

Dillon stressed, however, that their mission remains the war against ISIS. “We do not have a fight with pro-regime forces. Our fight is continued to focus on ISIS,” he said. 

On Wednesday, Dillon was in Manbij with the commanding general of all coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk. 

He described the trip as a “routine visit,” but acknowledged that it comes at a time when Turkey has directly threatened the coalition forces and their SDF allies in the area. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to “foil games along our borders, starting from Manbij.”

Coalition forces are stationed in the Manbij area to prevent clashes between Turkey and their proxies and the Kurdish-led forces.

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag has said that “American soldiers in YPG uniforms” could become targets.

Funk’s timely trip was an opportunity “for him to say to our troops and to media that were in the area that we always have the inherent right to defend ourselves against any threat, whether that be ISIS or anything else,” Dillon explained. 

The general’s message for the soldiers stationed at the Manbij outpost was one of reassurance that the coalition is backing them, “despite some of the rhetoric and some of the talks that have been in the news lately,” Dillon added. 

In Afrin, where Turkey’s military operation against the YPG has been underway for nearly three weeks, Dillon said the coalition is not conducting operations, but they are watching the situation closely to see how it could affect the war against ISIS. 

The YPG-led SDF is fighting “every single day to defeat ISIS elements” in the Middle Euphrates River Valley of eastern Syria, Dillon said, noting that the terror group remains the biggest threat to the Middle East and the world. 

“So, as anything that happens in Afrin distracts from the fight against ISIS, it is very much a concern to the coalition,” he said. 

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pre-Boomer Marine brat | 8/2/2018
Col. Dillon -- with respect, sir -- let us hope that General Mattis holds the same beliefs which you undoubtedly do. Watching his behavior, I am not convinced that he does.
FAUthman | 8/2/2018
Very significant news if true: "Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has moved a missile defense system close to Aleppo in northern Syria, preventing Turkish jets from flying over the country."Any idiot knows that the biggest threat to Assad is not the peaceful Syrian Kurds in Afrin, it is Turkey coming in backing the foreign mercenaries called the FSA, occupying Syrian territories with no chance ever for Turkey once in Syria to ever leave Syria again. Erdogan has been sucked into Afrin. You just stay tuned for a turn around for the Erdogan campaign in Syria once Assad controls the airspace. The Russians would want Turkey out, Iran wants it, and of course Assad wants it too. Turkey is still in Iraq since the 1990s with close to thirty bases according to reports and no chance ever of leaving. Furthermore: You may ask, why then did Russia, Assad and Iran agree to the Turkish invasion of Afrin in the first place? The answer could be very interesting: Turkey may have convinced Russia and Assad that US is a Paper Tiger has no interest in staying in Manbij and will eventually also leave east Syria now that the ISIS war is over. "Let me enter Afrin and threaten Manbij and US will fold and retreat after IS defeat with another "mission accomplished declaration and we are we are outa here". Kurds are born to be thrown under the bus. Mmmmm....Russia and Assad may have thought, let us give that a try we sure would want the US out of Syria, "OK Turkey go ahead with your Afrin invasion plan." The big surprise however came when : Erdogan faced an iron US fist in Manbij with US making it absolutely clear "we are not leaving Manbij , period". Furthermore US also made it clear to Assad "hands off areas east of the Euphrates. you have no business attacking Kurds there" US resolve did the trick. Erdogan could not deliver with his promise to chase the US out of Manbij and no chance of US leaving Syria and succumb to Erdogan threats. So the Russia / Assad/ Iran side may have now reasoned "it is time to chase Turkey out of Syria instead".
salen | 8/2/2018
I salute you Mr Dillon , i wish you a happy life and God bless you and americans.
Outsider | 9/2/2018
It seems the US military made its mind up... and to demonstrated to the Turks their approach... of course also interesting that this happens few days before Tillerson and Trump's security advisor arrive in Turkey... Once again, obvious the US military wanted to warn Turkey, but militaries do not think long term only short term to achieve one single task... at the end the politicians make the final decisions. We see... the fight on ISIL is not only fought in Iraq & Syria... but also in Washington...between State Department and the Pentagon...
Kurdo | 9/2/2018
Kurds join Greater Iran and be safe

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