As Turkey intensified its ground and air offensive on Kurdish positions in northern Syria, the Pentagon said that Turkish artillery fire landed near a United States military observation post located on the outskirts of the town of Kobane late Friday night.
“The explosion occurred within a few hundred meters of a location in an area known by the Turks to have US forces present,” Navy captain Brook DeWalt said, adding that no troops were injured.
Although the US has withdrawn the majority of its forces from the Syrian-Turkish border, a small number of troops remain.
In a statement late Friday, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said it did not open fire on the US facility and said it struck a Kurdish position after a Turkish one had been attacked with machine guns and mortar fire 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) from a US observation post.
Turkey’s military has said that 14 Syrian villages have so far been liberated from “terrorists” as part of its offensive against Kurdish fighters in the northeast.
The military added that 73 fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) group have been “neutralised” in the last eight hours. Meanwhile, Turkey’s ministry of defence said 399 YPG fighters have been “neutralised” since the beginning of the operation.
Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralised” to imply that fighters either surrendered, or were killed or captured. The Kurds disputed the number, saying only 29 of their fighters were dead.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s ministry of defence also said three of its soldiers were killed, while three others were wounded.