Chairman of the US Joint Chief of Staff Martin Dempsey has acknowledged that the US has been sharing intelligence and military planning with Turkey over number of issues, including Syria, for the past five years.
“We’ve been sharing intelligence with Turkey for five years, and one of the things we’re looking to do now is learn lessons, recognize a different situation on Turkey’s southeastern border and see if there’s other things we could do to assist them, as well as to reduce the threat of ballistic missile attack inside Turkey. So it’s a work in progress, and we go and come as we need to have those,” Dempsey said.
The top American commander added that Washington has sent military teams to Turkey to do planning with the country’s officials over unrest in the neighboring Syria, Turkey’s Today’s Zaman daily said in a report on Friday.
The revelation comes after commanding general of the US Army Europe (USAREUR) Mark Phillip Hertling said on Tuesday that the Pentagon had sent a number of soldiers to Turkey to assist Turkish authorities in handling the spillover of the Syrian crisis.
“We have had a relatively few number of US Army Europe personnel in Turkey recently. Some of that has been sharing intelligence,” Hertling said.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post said in a report on October 20, that the US and Turkish officials met in the past weeks to “make contingency plans to impose no-fly zones over Syrian territory or seize Syria’s stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons.”
The reports also said that border clashes between Ankara and Damascus “led US military and intelligence officials in particular to collaborate more closely with Turkey.”
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011.
The Syrian government holds some Western countries and their regional allies, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, responsible for arming and funding the opposition and foreign insurgents.
Meanwhile, media reports indicate that American, British and Israeli military and intelligence personnel were sent to Turkey in a bid to provide assistance to anti-Syria insurgents.