TAL ABYAD, Syrian Kurdistan (Kurdistan24) – On Thursday, military units allegedly belonging to the US Marines established several control points in Syria’s Kurdish-controlled town of Tal Abyad (known as Gire Spi in Kurdish) on the border with Turkey and raised several US flags nearby.
Kurdistan24 correspondents in Gire Spi, Ridwan Bezar, reported that the US military units entered the town with SUVs and raised US flags on many public buildings, including on the border with Turkey which was closed about two years ago.
Bezar confirmed that about 15 SUVs entered the town carrying US troops.
Then the US troops headed to the village of Munbatih in the northern outskirts of Gire Spi on Syria’s border with Turkey, and raised many US flags on the border line.
An activist who spoke to Kurdistan24 on the condition of anonymity said the US military delegation met with officials of Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) in Gire Spi and members of the governing council of the town.
The activist further explained that raising the American flags is an implicit warning for Turkey in case it intends to attack the Kurdish-held areas in Syria.
Regarding the purpose of the US troops’ deployment to Gire Spi and its surrounding areas, a Kurdish official of the Syrian Kurdish forces (YPG) told Kurdistan24 that the control points aim at monitoring the Turkish troops’ movement on the border with Syria.
On the US official side, the Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in the Department of Defense Press Briefing on Thursday that he was not aware of the matter.
Cook further called on the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) not to raise the American flag on their bases.
“We would call on our partner forces not to fly the American flag on their own, certainly,” he said.
However, Turkish state-run press agency Anadolu Agency (AA) denied the presence of US troops in Gire Spi citing Syrian opposition sources on the ground.
Anadolu Agency (AA) reported that the Kurdish forces flied the American flags on their facilities to send a sign to Turkey that the US troops are there in the Kurdish-held areas in northern Syria.
Gire Spi, located 102 kilometers (63 miles) east of Kobani, was liberated from the Islamic State (IS) group on June 16, 2015 by the YPG, backed by Syrian rebel allies and the coalition airstrikes.
Editing by Ava Homa
(Additional reporting by Ridwan Bezar from Tal Abyad)
[US flags raised on the border line in the village of Munbatih in the northern outskirts of Tal Abyad (Gire Spi) on Syria’s border with Turkey, Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, Turkey, September 15, 2016. (Photo: Anadolu Agency/AA)]