Former DoD official says Sulaymaniyah attack intentionally missed target

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – The suspected Turkish attack on Sulaymaniyah International Airport in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) on Friday intentionally missed the target because a ground convoy is generally not a difficult target to strike, Mick Mulroy, Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, told North Press on Sunday.

This came after a Turkish attack on a convoy included Mazloum Abdi, Commander in Chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), forces of the Sulaymaniyah-headquartered Counter-Terrorism Group (CTG), and personnel of the US-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS near Sulaymaniyah International Airport.

In an exclusive statement to North Press, Mulroy said it did not appear that the “drone strike” near the Sulaymaniyah was targeting Mazlum Abdi. “Although Turkey has not claimed responsibility, they are the most likely country that carried out the strike.”

On Saturday, Mazloum Abdi told North Press that the Turkish attack took place during his presence in a convoy that included troops of the Global Coalition and CTG forces. “Yes, I was in Sulymaniyah heading a delegation of the SDF.”    

Mulroy added that the SDF, led by General Mazloum, has been the main partner that has led to the defeat of the so-called ISIS caliphate liberating millions of people.

The former American official pointed out that if any US troops were killed or injured in the attack on the convoy, “that would cause a major rift between two NATO partners.”

“Perhaps they intentionally missed the target, a ground convoy is generally not a difficult target to strike. If so, this could of been some form of message,” Mulroy noted.

On Saturday, Michael Rubin, the American policy analyst and former official at the Pentagon, told North Press that the US needs to provide Mazloum Abdi and other SDF commanders with drones of their own and anti-aircraft capabilities.

“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to show Washington how serious he is about de-legitimizing the SDF for their unwillingness to subordinate themselves to Turkey’s whims,” he added.  

Such attacks, Mulroy said, “would be handled diplomatically but with direct messaging that targeting our partners especially with our service members present is not acceptable.” 

He believed that the pressure that could be put on Turkey, would be “diplomatic and through conversations behind closed doors,” adding, “But I do believe additional actions like this will have real consequences.”  

Reporting by Hadeel Oueiss

Editing by John Ahmad