US placing observation posts in northern Syria: Mattis

US placing observation posts in northern Syria: Mattis

WASHINGTON (Rahnuma) : The U.S. is placing observation posts along the Turkish border in northern Syria, Defense Chief James Mattis said Wednesday.

Turkey has “legitimate” concerns about terror threats in Syria and the U.S. does not dismiss any of its concerns, he told reporters at the Pentagon.

The concerns are emanating from the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria, according to Mattis.

“Assad, with the help of Russia and Iran has, as you know, committed murder in his own country. And he’s torn the country apart with his kind of governance, if you can even call it that. And Turkey has a lot of reasons for concerns, being the NATO country with a border right along Syria,” Mattis said.

In order to combat concerns coming from Syria, the U.S will place posts along the border with Turkey and Syria, where it can warn Ankara of any potential threats.

“We are putting in OPs [observation posts] up in northern Syria, this is a change now. We are putting in observation posts in several locations up along the Syria border,” Mattis said. “We want to be the people to call the Turks and warn them if we see something coming out of an area that we’re operating in.”

The U.S. is consulting “closely” with the Turkish military and the State Department, said the defense chief.

“We are going to track any threat that we can spot going up into Turkey. That means we will be talking to Turkey’s military across the border,” added Mattis.

The defense chief also said the observation posts were being placed to allow forces fighting in the Middle Euphrates Valley to focus on eliminating the “geographic caliphate,” referring to Daesh terrorists.

More than 300 people have lost their lives in Daesh terror attacks in Turkey, where the terror group targets civilians in suicide bomb, rocket and gun attacks.

*Kasim Ileri and Servet Gunerigok contributed to the story

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