Carter: IS used Man­bij to plot against US, Europe, Turkey

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

WASH­ING­TON—IS fight­ers have used the north­ern Syr­ian city of Man­bij as a base to hatch plots against Europe, Turkey and the United States, ne­ces­si­tat­ing a U.S.-backed of­fen­sive against it, U.S. De­fense Sec­re­tary Ash Carter said on Fri­day.

U.S. of­fi­cials dis­closed to Reuters this week that thou­sands of U.S.-backed fight­ers in Syria were launch­ing an of­fen­sive to cap­ture a swath of land known as Man­bij pocket af­ter weeks of quiet prepa­ra­tions. Carter said. “This is ca­pa­ble force. They are do­ing all the things we can al­ways do with able and mo­ti­vated lo­cal forces to fight ISIL.”

He did not elab­o­rate on the plot­ting he was re­fer­ring to. The op­er­a­tion, which be­gan Tues­day and could take weeks to com­plete, aims to choke off ISIS’ ac­cess to Syr­ian ter­ri­tory along the Turk­ish bor­der that mil­i­tants have long used as a lo­gis­tics base for mov­ing for­eign fight­ers to and from Europe.

U.S. of­fi­cials said a small num­ber of U.S. spe­cial op­er­a­tions forces would sup­port the of­fen­sive on the ground, act­ing as ad­vis­ers and stay­ing back from the front lines.

The op­er­a­tion would also count on sup­port from U.S.led coali­tion air strikes and ground-based fir­ing po­si­tions across the bor­der in Turkey, a U.S. ally in NATO.

It comes ahead of an even­tual push by the U.S.backed Syr­ian forces to­ward Raqqa, the ISIS’ de facto cap­i­tal

— Ash Carter.

in Syria and the prime ob­jec­tive in Syria for U.S. mil­i­tary plan­ners.

“We know that there is ex­ter­nal plot­ting, from Man­bij city ... against the home­lands of Europe, Turkey - all good friends and al­lies of ours and the United States as well,”

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