Pentagon chief appearances to focus on Turkey, Syria at NATO but has few great options

Pentagon chief appearances to focus on Turkey, Syria at NATO but has few great options

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is expected to focus on Turkey’s current offensive into northeastern Syria and the future of the battle versus Islamic State when he meets NATO partners in Brussels today, however he has actually limited choices in dealing with either issue.

FILE PICTURE: U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper addresses reporters during a media instruction at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., October 11,2019 REUTERS/Erin Scott/File Photo

Previously this month, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States would be withdrawing it’s soldiers from northeastern Syria, clearing the method for Turkish troops to launch an offensive versus Kurdish fighters in the location.

Considering That then, Trump has said he will keep a small number of troops in parts of northeastern Syria where there is oil. Russian military authorities began releasing on Syria’s border with Turkey on Wednesday under a handle Ankara to drive Kurdish fighters from the area.

Recently, Esper said he would push NATO allies “to take cumulative and individual diplomatic and financial steps in response” to Turkey’s attack into northeastern Syria, even as critics have actually pointed out that Trump’s choice made it possible for the Turkish offensive.

In a speech on Thursday in Brussels prior to the NATO conference, Esper is anticipated to call out Turkey’s actions.

According to prepared remarks, Esper will say Turkey’s actions endanger the progress made in Syria.

Statements by the Pentagon criticizing Turkey in the previous month have actually had little effect on Ankara.

Rachel Rizzo, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security think-tank, said Esper has couple of choices to punish NATO member Turkey at NATO.

” As far as NATO-level penalty, I don’t see really what is possible,” Rizzo said.

She stated Trump’s preliminary decision to pull out of northeast Syria was seen in Europe as allowing Turkey to bring out the incursion and the most recent sign that they might not depend on the Trump administration.

A variety of European countries have suspended weapons sales to Turkey.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday decried NATO’s failure to react to what he called Turkey’s “insane” offensive, and said it was time Europe stopped acting like a junior ally when it came to the Middle East.

Germany’s defense minister has told legislators she wants to get the U.N. Security Council to authorize a safe zone in northern Syria.

Trump has actually protected his choice to move most soldiers out of Syria. He said on Wednesday that the ceasefire in northern Syria is now irreversible and lifted sanctions on Turkey as a result.


The American pullout from northeastern Syria has actually raised concern that it might enable a renewal of Islamic State militants.

Esper is expected to meet with equivalents from Germany, France and the Britain to talk about how the battle versus Islamic State militants can continue and what it would appear like, a senior U.S. defense official stated.

Numerous U.S. legislators, both Democrats and Trump’s fellow Republicans, have revealed dismay over Trump’s choice to withdraw soldiers from Syria, clearing the way for Turkish soldiers to fight Kurdish forces who for years assisted U.S. soldiers fight Islamic State militants, taking the impact of the casualties.

The fate of Islamic State militants in Syrian Kurdish jails stays up in the air.

A senior Trump administration authorities stated while most ISIS (Islamic State) fighters stayed under lock and key, it appeared that a little number had actually gotten away from jails.

Reporting by Idrees Ali; Modifying by Costs Berkrot

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