"(CNN) – US troops in northern Syria came under direct attack last week by Turkish-backed rebels, a military official with the coalition fighting ISIS told CNN Tuesday. The official said that while US troops returned fire there were no casualties on either side.
The coalition believes the attackers are part of the Turkish-backed opposition forces, a loose grouping of Arab and Turkmen fighters that have helped the Turkish military clear ISIS from the Turkish-Syria border area.
"Recent incidents have occurred in territories primarily under the control of Turkish-backed fighters. We are engaged with Ankara and other parties to address this danger," Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told CNN."
These things were bound to happen. We have semi-autonomous armed bands roaming the countryside with their clan banners flying. Allegiances are in flux. It reminds me of bands of horsemen roaming the steppes centuries ago. The only difference is that the horses are replaced with Nissan pickups, BMP-1s and Strykers. And the Tartar bows and lances are replaced with heavy machine guns and ATGMs.
In other news two Arab militias previously fighting under the SDF banner in the Manbij region defected to the SAA. The militia leaders have already met with Suheil al Hassan. I think we’ll see a lot more of this in the coming months in the greater Idlib and Aleppo regions as part of an aggressive campaign to pull local tribes and tribal forces under the SAA.
I also think Moscow and Damascus are going to make it clear to the Kurds that full cooperation with Damascus is their only prudent course of action. I think Russia has developed enough sway over Erdogan to control any massive Turkish attacks on the Kurds if the Kurds yield to the wisdom of Damascus. Otherwise, Turkey will make life miserable for the Rojava Kurds.
I’ll go out on a limb here and say this will happen before the SAA turns its attention and forces from the coming liberation of Deir Ezzor to the reduction of the Idlib jihadis, probably with the aid of the Kurds and the acquiescence of the Turks. We’ll see.