CIA Director Bill Burns told the head of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization, Hakan Fidan, that Turkish artillery fire and airstrikes in northern Syria are putting US military soldiers and troops at risk.
Turkey has been bombing parts of Syria and Iraq since November 20, a week after a terrorist attack in Istanbul that the Turkish government says was carried out by Kurdish militants.
The call between the two intelligence agency heads came after a Turkish airstrike reportedly landed less than 1,000 feet from US troops stationed in the region of al-Hasakah in northern Syria.
There are currently around 900 US troops stationed in Syria, most of whom are stationed at bases of the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Their stated mission is to help the organization fight the remnants of the Israeli supported ISIS soldiers of fortune.
Turkey has been bombing Syria as it blames Kurdish militants for a November 13 terrorist attack in Istanbul. No group has taken responsibility for the attack and both the US-backed SDF and the largest militant group, the Kurdistan Workers Party, have denied involvement.
The White House and CIA declined to comment on the Burns-Fidan phone call. But two sources briefed on the call said Burns told Fidan that the attack put US troops at risk and warned him against a potential ground invasion.
A ground invasion would put US troops and their allies in a precarious position in the war-torn oil reserves and refinery area.
Both Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley have spoken to Turkish officials about the strikes in the past weeks.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price also told reporters on Tuesday that the USA has told Turkey publicly and privately that it opposes military action, including a ground invasion.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point WW III News 2022.