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US Forces Come Under Fire in Syria

FILE - This April 29, 2017, still taken from video, shows an American soldier standing on an armored vehicle in the northern village of Darbasiyah, Syria.

American troops returned fire last week after being repeatedly shot at by rebels in areas of northern Syria controlled by Turkish-backed forces.

Defense officials told VOA that U.S.-led coalition forces came under gunfire "on multiple occasions" from "unknown groups." Army Colonel Joe Scrocca, a military spokesman in Baghdad, said there were no casualties or damage to equipment during the incidents.

"We are engaged with Ankara and other parties to address this danger," Defense Department spokesman Eric Pahon told VOA.

Pahon said coalition troops will continue to perform patrols in the area controlled by the Turkish-backed Manbij Military Council, and will defend themselves against any threat.

"Coalition forces are there to monitor, deter hostilities, and ensure all parties remain focused on our common enemy and the greatest threat to regional and world security, ISIS," he said, referring to the Islamic State group. "We strongly urge all parties to remain focused on defeating ISIS."

Many of the Turkish-backed forces oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and have clashed with Kurdish fighters from the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, who also are battling Islamic State militants.

There is no evidence that Turkish forces were involved in the attacks, according to officials.