The U.S. Defence Secretary James N. Mattis announced that the United States military is setting up several observation posts in Syria beside the border with Turkey.
During a Pentagon press briefing on 21 November 2018, Mattis explained that the major purpose of the observation posts (Ops) will be provide Turkey with military intelligence of any terrorist elements moving into Turkey from Syria and added that the decision for the Ops was taken as a result from close consultation and collaboration with Turkey, both at the military and State Department levels.
Mattis commented, “Turkey, a NATO ally, has legitimate concerns about terrorist threats and from where they’re emanating. We don’t dismiss any of their concerns.”
Troops, who are already operating in the area in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, will man the Ops as stated by the Defence Secretary. The troops will not be increased for the needs of that new mission.
This is the second military cooperation effort in as many weeks between the USA and Turkey. The first one involved combined military patrols in Syria.
As for the fight against ISIS, the comment of Mattis was that the terrorists have been compressed into small pockets.
Although there is progress, hard work remains because ISIS is using civilians as shields and coalition forces are committed to minimizing harm to the local populace. Using innocent civilians in this manner is a long-standing ISIS tactic, as reported by Mattis, who also added that they did it in Raqqa, Syria, and in Mosul, Iraq.
James N. Mattis became the 26th US Defence Secretary on 20th January 2017.
After his graduation from Central Washington University in 1971, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his more than four decades in uniform, Secretary Mattis commanded Marines at all levels, from an infantry rifle platoon to a Marine Expeditionary Force. In 2016, he co-edited the book, Warriors & Citizens: American Views of Our Military.