03:10 GMT +318 March 2018
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    U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter

    US Prepared to Deploy Additional Special Operations Forces to Syria

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    The United States will be looking for opportunities to send additional special operations forces to Syria to aid in the fight against Daesh, US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said on Tuesday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US considers sending additional forces to Syria is necessary: 

    "We are sending <…> Special Operations forces personnel to Syria to support the fight against Daesh/ISIL," Carter told the House Armed Services Committee, referring to the 50 special operators deployed by the United States last month.

    He added that "where we find further opportunity to leverage such capability, we will be prepared to expand it."  

    The United States is sending a special expeditionary targeting force to assist Iraqi and Kurdish military in fighting Daesh, Carter said.

    “In full coordination with the government of Iraq, we are deploying a specialized expeditionary targeting force to assist Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces and put even more pressure on ISIL [Islamic State],” Carter said in a testimony.

    The US defense secretary added that the special operators will conduct raids, gather intelligence, free hostages and capture IS leaders.

    “This force will also be in a position to conduct unilateral operations in Syria,” Carter added.

    The Turkish government should also enhance control of its unsecure border with Syria, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said on Tuesday.

    "Turkey must do more to control its often porous border," Carter stated at a House Armed Service Committee hearing.

    Earlier in the day, US President Barack Obama said the efforts to close the Turkish border with Syria have yielded serious progress, but some gaps still remain.

    The US president noted that certain problems remain on the 60 miles (98 kilometers) of the northern Syrian border, which are still used as a transit point for foreign fighters. Obama added that the Islamic State (IS), also known as Daesh, has been using the unsecure border to ship out fuel for sale to finance its activities.

    On November 18, the Pentagon said the United States is working with Turkey at an intergovernmental level to help seal off its border with Syria, but the US forces are not assisting in the operation.


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