Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said that US troops were coordinating with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from an intelligence perspective to pursue ISIS militants in Syria.
“We work with our SDF partners on the ground to go after ISIS. And they are strong fighters in that regard,” Kirby said.
His comments came after the New York Times published a story about March 2019 airstrikes in Syria, revealing the presence of intelligence coordination between the US and SDF forces.
The newspaper also said that several international organizations have revealed that the Kurdish-led group mistreated local people, particularly the Arabs in eastern Syria.
Kirby said Washington coordinates with the SDF because it knows the terrain.
“They know the area. They certainly do support the counter ISIS effort from an intelligence perspective,” he said at a press briefing held on Monday.
However, the Pentagon Press Secretary refused to comment on the accusations that the group might have exploited the US military power and carried out certain violations.
“We are always mindful of our obligations when we're dealing with partner forces, about the rule of law and about responsible use of military power and going after a common threat like ISIS. And that's an ongoing concern. It's an iterative process. It’s something that we stress to partners throughout the conduct of any military operation,” Kirby said.
He added that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has asked General McKenzie to brief him more specifically on the airstrikes carried out in March 2019.