The United States has reduced the number of partnered patrols in northern Syria with Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the Pentagon said on Tuesday, after Turkish strikes in the region and ahead of a feared ground invasion by Ankara, Reuters reported.
Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Patrick Ryder told reporters on Tuesday that while operations against Islamic State had not stopped, the patrols had to be reduced because the SDF had reduced the number of their own patrols.
Ryder added that his country recognises Turkey’s legitimate security concerns regarding terrorist acts that have occurred within its own borders, adding that the US forces operating in Syria have not withdrawn from the region.
Ryder said the US is in direct contact with Ankara regarding the security developments in northern Syria.
On Monday, American media revealed that the United States had evacuated its civilian employees from areas controlled by the SDF in northeastern Syria, amid Turkish threats to launch a ground military operation in the region.
Al-Monitor news site confirmed that the United States has evacuated all American civilian employees working in northeastern Syria to Erbil, capital of the Iraqi Kurdistan region.
It pointed out that Turkey continues to target “the SDF assets as well as vital civilian infrastructure, especially oil facilities and power stations.”
A few weeks ago, the US consulate in Erbil issued a warning against travel to northern Syria and Iraq, adding that it was monitoring reliable and open-source reports on possible Turkish military action in those areas in the coming days.