A U.S. military outpost in northern Syria came under Turkish artillery fire late Friday — a day after Defense Secretary Mark Esper warned Turkey to protect U.S. military personnel in its offensive against Kurdish fighters.
"U.S. troops in the vicinity of Kobani came under artillery fire from Turkish positions at approximately 9 p.m. local Oct. 11," Navy Captain Navy Brook DeWalt, a Pentagon spokesperson, said in a statement. "The explosion occurred within a few hundred meters of a location outside the Security Mechanism zone and in an area known by the Turks to have U.S. forces present.
"All U.S. troops are accounted for with no injuries," DeWalt added.
The incident comes as the Turkish military launches air and artillery strikes across the border in an operation the United States strongly opposes.
President Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of special operations teams from two other border outposts earlier this week to keep them out of the path of the Turkish offensive, which is targeting the same Kurdish militias that have fought alongside American troops against the Islamic State but that Turkey considers a terrorist threat.
In a call with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar yesterday, Esper “reiterated his strong concern that, despite U.S. force protection measures, Turkey's actions could harm U.S. personnel in Syria,” Pentagon spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement earlier Friday.
"The United States remains opposed to the Turkish military move into Syria and especially objects to Turkish operations outside the Security Mechanism zone and in areas where the Turks know U.S. forces are present," DeWalt added in the new statement. "The U.S. demands that Turkey avoid actions that could result in immediate defensive action."
Earlier Friday, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley, describing the measures the Pentagon is taking to prevent Turkish fire from accidentally striking U.S. troops, also told reporters that "the Turkish military is fully aware down to explicit grid-coordinate detail of the locations of U.S. forces."