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US Urges Turkey to Deploy Troops To Syrian Border

Turkey

The United States is urging Turkey to seal off a 100-kilometer stretch of its border with Syria to block the movement of ISIS.

The borderline is currently used by the terrorist group for transportation of fighters and supplies into the Syrian war zone.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Pentagon officials have estimated that the Turkey would need to deploy around 30,000 soldiers to do this.

Press TV reports: US officials say the border includes key transit routes that Daesh uses to move militants in and out of the war zone and into Europe.

Turkish officials have said that the Pentagon’s numbers are extravagant, but acknowledged the need for tighter border control.

The US and Turkey agreed in principle in July on a deal for the border, but operational planning has stalled by discord.

The deal allows US military aircraft to use Turkish bases to launch airstrikes in support of allied militants fighting Daesh and the Syrian government. However, the plan has been slowed because of Russian airstrikes.

The US has deployed a number of attack aircraft to the Incirlik airfield in southern Turkey, military officials said last month.

The proposed operation has taken new urgency since the November 13 attacks in Paris and this week’s downing of a Russian bomber by Turkey.

“The game has changed. Enough is enough. The border needs to be sealed,” a senior US official said of Washington’s demand to Ankara. “This is an international threat, and it’s all coming out of Syria and it’s coming through Turkish territory.”

A senior Turkish government official told the Journal that Ankara is taking necessary steps to secure the frontier and that “there is no need to receive any kind of warning or advice from anyone, including our US partners.”

US President Barack Obama recently ordered the deployment of dozens of Special Operations troops to Syria to “assist” militants operating on the ground.

President Barack Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed, in principle, about a ground operation in Syria back in July. It was understood that the forces on the ground would be Turkish-backed rebel groups consisting of Syrian Arabs and Turkmens, while the US would provide air support to the operation, reports RT:

Ankara also expected the US Air Force to maintain a no-fly zone over northern Syria, to protect rebels from the Syrian Air Force.

However, once Russia moved in and began a counter-terrorist operation of its own in Syria in late September, the US-Turkey plan to conduct a ground operation with rebel forces was scrapped.

After the attack of a Turkish F-16 fighter jet on a Russian Su-24 bomber on Tuesday, the Russian task force in Syria was enhanced with S-400 Triumph long-distance air defense complexes that cover most of Syria’s territory.

Both the American and Turkish air forces halted their strikes on Syrian territory around the time Russia deployed S-400 systems to the Khmeimin airbase, from where it stages its own incursions against Islamic State.