US did not provide agreed air cover to Turkish, FSA forces under Daesh attack

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published 31.08.2016 18:47
Updated 05.09.2016 11:51
Free Syrian Army fighters are seen near the Syrian village of Zughrah, which recently captured from Daesh terrorists on Aug. 31. (AA Photo)
Free Syrian Army fighters are seen near the Syrian village of Zughrah, which recently captured from Daesh terrorists on Aug. 31. (AA Photo)

A claim by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters on the U.S.' reluctance for providing air cover to Turkish units fighting Daesh is likely to add more strain on the already tense relations between NATO allies Turkey and the U.S. following the failed Gülenist coup attempt of July 15.

According to a report by the official Anadolu Agency (AA), the U.S. did not provide the previously pledged air cover during Tuesday's attack by Daesh terrorists against FSA fighters and Turkish tanks providing support.

Three Turkish soldiers were wounded in the attack in which Daesh terrorists hit a Turkish tank with a rocket in Kulliyah village located west of the northern Syrian town of Jarablus.

The tank was in the region to support advancing FSA units against Daesh terrorists in Operation Euphrates Shield launched on Aug. 24 to clear Turkey's borders from terror groups.

FSA sources told AA that Daesh terrorists opened fire on their positions with heavy machine guns from multiple directions at 7:00 p.m. local time and hit the Turkish tank with a rocket.

Turkish military liaison officers asked for urgent air cover from the U.S.-led anti-Daesh coalition jets, which were already airborne for a regular patrolling mission.

Despite the planning between Turkey and the U.S. that put the American side in charge of air cover in the hours when the attack took place, the air cover did not show up, while also delaying the Turkish side for an hour making several excuses, the source said.

Meanwhile, the Turkish air force launched its own airstrikes against Daesh units and provided relief for ground forces.

Coalition units carried out a bombing in the area three hours after Turkish jets hit Daesh positions, which had only hit open ground.

There were injuries in the clash and Turkish jets prevented larger casualties at the last moment, the source added.

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