World Bulletin/News Desk
U.S. defense chiefs on Friday downplayed Turkey's deployment of troops and military vehicles toward its border with Syria, saying the movements didn't appear aimed at escalating tensions with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
A Turkish official on Thursday described the movement as a precaution after Syrian air defenses shot down a Turkish warplane a week ago.
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta noted that Turkey has maintained troops along the border.
"And I wouldn't read too much into the movements that have been in the press," Panetta told reporters at the Pentagon.
Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, added that "I wouldn't read that as provocative in any way."
Dempsey, who recently spoke with his Turkish counterpart, General Necdet Ozel, added: "You'd probably have to ask the Turks. I've asked them and they are not seeking to be provocative."
Commenting on his conversation with Ozel, Dempsey said: "He's taking a very measured approach to the incident. So he and I are staying in contact."
Turkish commanders on Friday inspected missile batteries deployed in the border region, seen as a graphic warning to Assad after last Friday's shoot-down of the Turkish plane.
"A nation loses in this case two airmen to a hostile act, it will of course increase the risk of escalation. But [...] the internal movement of their ground forces, -- I wouldn't read that as provocative in any way. [...] I've asked them, and they are not seeking to be provocative," Dempsey told reporters in a press conference.
US Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta said the United States continued to be concerned about developments in Syria.
"We are in discussions. Turkey is one of our allies in that region. We continue to be in close discussions with them with regards to how we best approach the situation in Syria. They have maintained troops, as I understand it, along the border. And I wouldn't read too much into the movements that have been in the press," Panetta said.
Turkey has begun moving troops and armored units to the border with Syria just days after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country was changing rules of engagement of the Turkish Armed Forces.
"Any Syrian military element approaching the Turkish border from Syria will be considered as a military threat and dealt with accordingly," Erdogan has said.
The unarmed Turkish plane was shot down by Syria while on a training and test mission after unintentionally strayed into Syrian airspace but it was quickly warned by Turkish authorities to leave.
The incident has drawn widespread condemnation amid the continuing violence in Syria.
Turkey said the Syrian act constituted a violation of international law and that Ankara would take "every necessary measure."
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Tuesday the original briefing was inaccurate and that military officials should not discuss war plans in any case.
Libya has not had government since ousting of Gaddafi, with the North African state in chaos
Previous "gas wars" have led to supply disruptions to Europe, which gets around a third of its gas from Russia, and 40 percent of this via Ukraine.
More than 350 Israeli troops had been receiving treatment for full psychological trauma after last year launched a weeks-long onslaught on the Gaza Strip.
The Arab League does not take positions after an Egyptian local court designated Hamas a "terrorist organization"
The fugitive and former NSA contractor Edward J. Snowden seeks to come to U.S, after nearly two years in exile in Russia, according to his Russian lawyer
IAEA) representatives will meet Iranian officials in Tehran on March 9
Egyptian authorities decided to arrest any members of Hamas movement although Hamas denied accusations.
Iraqi troops, backed by Shiite groups, have launched a ground offensive against ISIL on Monday to recapture Tikrit city. Tikrit, a Sunni-majority city, was the homeland of the deceased Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Family of U.S slain Muslim says they are impressed due to Turkey's reactions to this case and Syrian refugees
Israel demolished makeshift homes for the fourth time on the grounds that economic and security buffer zone for Jewish settlements
Netanyahu returns to Israel after visit to United States with his speech congress draws strong criticism.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri described Netanyahu's discourse as an attempt to "portray the aggressor as the victim before international public opinion"
The Syria conflict is the first war that scientists have explicitly linked to climate change. With so many reasons for why the conflict happened in the first place, the overstatement of why climate change in a region where drought is common can be seen as a distraction from the core reasons.
Australian PM says "revolted" by planned executions with the Australian pair among 11 convicts to be shot. The appeal against execution still outstanding
Britain seeks to send police officers to prevent foreign crossing into Syria to join militant groups..