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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

US Pressing Turkey to Seal Border With Syria to Weaken Islamic State

Sputnik News

08:38 28.11.2015

Washington is asking Turkey to seal the border with Syria with additional troops in order to cut off key transit routes of the Islamic State militant group, The Wall Street Journal reports.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The United States has not officially asked for a specific number of Turkish soldiers to be deployed on the border, but has stressed that more infantry and artillery units could prevent ISIL from transferring foreign fighters in and out of the war zone in Syria.

'The game has changed. Enough is enough. The border needs to be sealed,' a senior Obama administration official said as quoted by The Wall Street Journal on Friday, stressing that ISIL 'is an international threat, and it's all coming out of Syria and it's coming through Turkish territory.'

According to the newspaper, Turkey wants financial help in dealing with its Syrian refugees and support for a safe zone in Syria in return for the border sealing.

'Just closing down the border would not be enough to solve our problems and would not address Turkey's demands,' a Turkish official said as quoted by The Wall Street Journal on Friday.

A US official stressed in his turn that border security is something Turkey must ensure on its own, especially in light of the November 13 terrorist attacks.

'They [Turkey] need to step up their game when it comes to this and they can't necessarily look to us to fortify their border for them. Paris is a wake-up call to them that this is a problem they don't have under control,' the official said as quoted by the newspaper.

On November 13, a series of terrorist attacks were carried out at various locations in the French capital, leading to the death of at least 130 people and injuring over 350 others.

ISIL claimed responsibility for the attacks, raising fears that the militants, who have been active in Iraq and Syria, could carry out more massive attacks in Europe.

A US-led international coalition has been conducting airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria since September 2014. Russia started a separate air campaign against ISIL in Syria on September 30, 2015, at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad.


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