Syrian Warplanes Continue Overflights Around Hasakeh
In a telephone interview from Baghdad, new Iraq-Syria War Commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend tried to echo the boundless optimism of every other US commander when put in charge of one of the nation’s various open-ended wars, vowing to see all of ISIS dead, and virtually ousted from both countries within a year.
The real story of his comments, however, was less the war he’s fighting now than the wars he’s threatening to fight along the way, as Lt. Gen. Townsend pointedly threatened both Russia and Syria over recent flights and airstrikes around the northeastern city of Hasakeh.
Townsend said he’d “informed” the Russians that US warplanes are prepared to defend US troops on the ground if they feel threatened in future strikes in and around Hasakeh. US troops are known to be embedded with Kurdish forces in the Hasakeh Province, but their exact locations aren’t known.
Even so, when fighting broke out in the city between Syrian and Kurdish forces, and Syrian warplanes struck the Kurds, US officials complained they’d had to scramble troops out of the area. They also made a point of sending their own warplanes to “confront” the Syrian ones.