The U.S. is setting up observation posts along the Turkish border in northern Syria, Defense Chief James Mattis said on Nov. 21.
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.
“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,” he added.
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.
Mattis also said that the observation posts would not require additional U.S. troops being sent to Syria. The Pentagon says it has about 2,000 troops in Syria.
The United States has long been complained that tensions between Turkey and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which includes the YPG militants, have at times slowed down progress on fighting the ISIL.
Turkey deems the YPG as an offshoot of the PKK, which is listed a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.