Explosion near U.S. military outpost in northern Syria: U.S. official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An explosion occurred near a U.S. military outpost in northern Syria on Friday, but no personnel were reported hurt, a U.S. official said.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the source of the explosion near Kobane, Syria, was unclear. The blast coincided with an offensive by Turkey in northeast Syria against U.S.-allied Kurds.

The official added that U.S. troops were in the outpost at the time of the explosion, but there had been no further activity since. U.S. forces have had a successful partnership with Kurdish YPG militia in Syria to oust the Islamic State group.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley told reporters at the Pentagon on Friday that Turkey had been told of U.S. positions in Syria.

“The Turkish military is fully aware – down to explicit grid coordinate detail – of the locations of U.S. forces,” Milley said.

Top Pentagon officials stressed the need for Turkey to avoid doing anything to endanger U.S. forces inside Syria, which numbered about 1,000 before the incursion. Although U.S. troops had no intention of firing on Turkey, a NATO ally, the Pentagon noted they had the right to defend themselves, if needed.

“Everyone is fully aware that we are the United States military. We retain the right of self-defense,” Milley said.

Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart; Editing by Leslie Adler and Grant McCool

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