On November 21, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis revealed that the US-led coalition will establish several observation posts along the Syrian-Turkish border in order to address Turkey’s “legitimate” concerns about “terror threats” in northeastern Syria, which is controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
“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 … 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,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon, according to the Turkish Anadolu Agency.
Mattis also said that U.S. forces in Syria are coordinating with the Turkish military and will continue to do so through the observations posts.
“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,” Mattis said.
This step by Washington is clearly aimed at easing the tensions between its allies. In the last few weeks, the Turkish military shelled several positions of the SDF in northern Syria. As a result, several SDF fighters were killed and injured, which forced the Kurdish-dominated group to retaliate.
While Mattis claims that the observation posts will secure Turkey from “terror threats,” a U.S. military presence on the border will actually prevent Turkey from launching any attacks on the SDF there.