Spox for US coalition in Syria retweets fake news about Turkey, later backpedals

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 17.12.2018 12:18
Updated 17.12.2018 23:00

The spokesman for the United States-led coalition forces in Syria retweeted a post on his Twitter account Sunday that accused Turkish army snipers of targeting civilians in People's Protection Units (YPG)-held territory, but later deleted the tweet, apologizing for spreading "propaganda."

Col. Sean Ryan, the spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force of U.S. Central Command, retweeted a post Sunday that said: "US Special Forces (Green Berets) patrolling the Rojava-Turkey border after terrorist Turkish army snipers targeted Rojavan civilians, killing a little girl walking home from school."

The Rojava is a region in northern Syria which is claimed by the PKK's Syrian affiliate the YPG. The photo, which showed U.S. Special Forces alongside Syrian children, was unrelated to the caption.

The scandalous post elicited shock and criticism from Twitter users, especially after German journalist Julian Ropcke screenshotted the tweet and shared it on his account.

Ropcke, an editor at Germany-based BILD newspaper, was blocked by Ryan after sharing the screenshot, stirring further indignation from the journalist, who replied: "You can not be serious. @CENTCOM, do journalists get blocked now for doing their job?!"

Col. Ryan later deleted the tweet and responded to Ropcke on Twitter.

"Earlier I tweeted based off the photo of Marines protecting kids, and did not read the full message. This was my mistake and quickly deleted although someone screenshot this tweet and spread negative messages. My fault- stop spreading propaganda," he wrote.

The coalition spokesman also issued an apology on Twitter for retweeting the scandalous post and spreading false information about Turkey.

The U.S.-led coalition has partnered with the terrorist YPG in Syria under the pretext of fighting against Daesh, despite Turkey's outcry and warnings that partnering with one terrorist group to defeat another cannot achieve the desired outcomes.

Turkey sees no difference between the PKK, a group also listed on U.S. and EU terror lists, and the YPG in Syria, as the two groups are organically linked and have fluid movement of members between their lines.

Turkey has carried out two successful cross-border operations into Syria — Operation Euphrates Shield launched in August 2016 and Operation Olive Branch launched in January 2018 — both meant to eradicate the presence of YPG and Daesh terrorists near Turkey's borders.

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