No U.S. Military Deployment Back to Syrian-Turkey Border, Milley Assures House Hearing
Feb. 27, 2020 (EIRNS)—Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may be getting moral support from Pompeo for his ambitions in Syria, particularly in Idlib province, but he’s not getting any additional support from the Pentagon, at least not at the present time. “There’s no intent nor plans to reengage in the Syria-Turkish war nor put troops back on the Syrian-Turkish border,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told the House Armed Services Committee yesterday. He stressed that the U.S. military mission in Syria remains focused on ISIS. “We know that ISIS, the caliphate, the physical entity, has been eliminated, but we also know that ISIS as an organization has not yet been destroyed,” he said. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper agreed, explaining to the committee that there has not been a discussion about “reengaging in a civil war” in the region. Esper said his department believes “the best path forward is through the [United Nations] process that is underway and that needs to be pursued vigorously.”
Though speaking prior to Esper and Milley’s testimony, Erdogan seemed to already have a sense that the military support he’s been asking for won’t be forthcoming from the Trump Administration. Upon his return from a visit to Azerbaijan, yesterday, Erdogan lamented the fact that the U.S. would not be deploying Patriot air defense batteries to the Turkish border with Syria. “As for the Patriot issue, let me say very clearly: currently there are no Patriots that America will give us,” he said. “We made our offer ... but at the moment, they have no such thing in their hands.” Meanwhile, RT reports, Turkey expects to get its Russian-made S-400 batteries up and running by springtime.