EXCLUSIVE – A Kurdish general told Fox News that NATO ally Turkey is planning to carry out a massive ground invasion of Syria, targeting the same Kurdish groups the US military has partnered with and relied on to fight ISIS in northeastern Syria.

The attack could endanger nearly 1,000 US troops stationed in Syria.

FILE: Mazloum Abdi, commander-in-chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), meets with the Raqa civilian council in the northeastern city of Hasakeh, Syria, November 1, 2020.
(DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

In an exclusive interview with Fox News, the top general of the Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Forces, General Mazloum Abdi, said his forces would no longer be able to help the United States fight ISIS because they are facing Turkish attacks.

“We did not purposely freeze joint actions against ISIS together with the international coalition,” General Mazloum said through an interpreter. “But as I said, we have had to stop this action as we go along because we are under tremendous stress from a possible Turkish incursion into our areas.”

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Turkish mortars, airstrikes and drones have begun targeting Kurdish positions in Syria and Iraq in the wake of a Nov. 13 terror bombing in Istanbul that Turkey has blamed on Kurdish groups.

General Mazloum said the bomber was from ISIS and condemned the attack. He warned that Turkey is using it as a pretext to ethnically cleanse the Kurds. Turkish warplanes have hit a military base the US military shares with these Kurdish fighters outside Qamishli, about 30 miles from the Turkish border.

The US relied on the SDF to fight against ISIS on the ground and for intelligence to target ISIS leaders such as Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi.

A view shows the aftermath of the air strikes, which the Turkish Defense Ministry says it carried out, in Derik, Syria, on November 20, 2022.

A view shows the aftermath of the air strikes, which the Turkish Defense Ministry says it carried out, in Derik, Syria, on November 20, 2022.

In a strong statement Wednesday, the Pentagon said it was “deeply concerned” about the escalation that threatens efforts to defeat ISIS and endangers the lives of US personnel who are working in Syria with local partners to defeat the terrorist group.

“Immediate de-escalation is needed to maintain focus on the ISIS defeat mission and ensure the safety and security of field personnel engaged in the ISIS defeat mission,” the Brigadier General said. Patrick S. Ryder, Pentagon press secretary. Fox News in a statement.

“Recent air strikes in Syria have directly threatened the safety of US personnel who are working in Syria with local partners to defeat ISIS and maintain custody of over ten thousand ISIS detainees.”

There are now around 900 US troops on the ground in Syria who don’t have the Kurdish partners in the SDF to control ISIS.

US forces were 300 meters from the SDF base in Hasakah, Syria, at the time of the Turkish airstrike on Tuesday.

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General Mazloum has called on the American people and the American government to stand up for the Kurds.

“I want the American people to show the same stance they showed in 2019 when we were under stress from the Turks again,” he said. “Now we are again under threat of ethnic cleansing here by the Turks. And I am asking the government and people of the United States to stand up for their Kurdish friends here.”

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