ÇOBANBEY, Syria, Sept. 16 (UPI) — American special operations troops have arrived in Syria to help Turkish forces fight the Islamic State, but it appears that some of the U.S.-backed rebel fighters there aren’t too happy about that support.
Several videos appeared on social media channels by Friday, showing allied members of the Free Syrian Army — fighters the Pentagon has propped up with financing and logistical support — expressing a great deal of contempt for American troops who came to help.
American commandos, in fact, were reportedly forced to flee in some areas when they encountered severe abuse and insults from FSA members.
“We won’t accept any American here — we’re Muslims, not infidels,” one rebel was quoted on Twitter.
American troops are assisting allied forces in various “advise and support capacities,” a Pentagon spokesman said, but sources noted that about 40 U.S. special forces soldiers arrived Thursday to back Turkish troops.
The latest support aims to put extra muscle behind the resilient anti-terror apparatus that has gripped Syria — particularly along its northern border with Turkey. The Wall Street Journal reported that the operation marks the first time American special forces have worked in a joint capacity with the Turkish military inside Syria.
The Pentagon spokesman, Capt. Jeff Davis, said the U.S. troops “are accompanying Turkish and vetted Syrian opposition forces as they continue to clear territory.”
The support comes just days after the United States and Russia brokered and installed a new cease-fire agreement for the war-torn nation — an effort at making a dent in the civil war that has raged between rebels and President Bashar Assad’s regime since 2011.
Though the Pentagon supports the rebels’ fight against Assad, the extra ground support reportedly given this week is specifically earmarked for the concurrent terror war.
President Barack Obama reportedly ordered the troops’ deployment last week after discussing with Turkish President Recep Erdogan the strategic challenges of fighting ISIS at the G20 economic summit in China.
Sources disclosed details of the special forces deployment on condition of anonymity because the Pentagon has not made it official. The Defense Department did say Friday that it’s working on plans to capture Raqqa, the de facto capital for the Islamic State, The New York Times reported.
Fighting the Islamic State in Syria, alone or with allied forces, continues to be difficult for the United States — a fact underscored by the hostile welcome extended to the U.S. group and broadcast online.
“Christians and Americans have no place among us,” a man says in one video. “They want to wage a crusader war to occupy Syria.”
“The collaborators of America are dogs and pigs,” said another.