The US-led coalition did not provide previously-agreed air support to Turkish forces and Free Syrian Army rebels when they were attacked by Islamic State militants outside the city of Jarablus in northern Syria, losing several troops wounded in action.
A Free Syrian Army (FSA) unit and Turkish troops came under heavy machine gun fire from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in a village located nearby Jarablus on Tuesday evening, Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday.
Taking heavy enemy fire, Turkish air forward observers requested immediate support from the NATO airbase at Incirlik, from which the US-led coalition’s aircraft operate. The agency’s report also said that some US aircraft were already airborne for a regular patrolling mission.
However, the US command was reluctant to provide air cover and reportedly delayed scrambling jets for about an hour, making excuses, though such scenarios were previously agreed between the US and Turkish militaries, according to Anadolu.
In the meantime, a Turkish tank which supported advancing rebels was hit by a rocket fired by Islamists, wounding three soldiers, an FSA source told the news agency.
“We could have lost many people,” the source said. “The Americans had promised to provide air support in case of an emergency, but they did not.
“They should have helped; however, the air intervention came in late because of them.”