Indiana Sen. Dan Coats has warned that the "enemy is at Europe’s gates" and has called on NATO to secure the borders in Turkey to prevent radicalized foreigners crossing into Syria to fight with Islamic State extremists.
In a column for Politico
, the Republican senator says that thousands of American and European recruits are helping to expand the size of the evil Islamic State’s "jihadist armies."
"We must do more to fight the jihadists on the battlefield," he wrote. "One of the best ways we can do that is to prevent them from getting there in the first place.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, though reluctant to engage in the fight directly, could help in one specific, but important, way."
Coats, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which is also known as ISIL or ISIS, has created "a radical new threat to our collective security."
He continued, "Helping combat ISIL means a dramatic, full-scale effort to help our fellow NATO member state, Turkey, secure its border with Syria, monitor and control the people crossing that border and help our Turkish ally forestall any future spillover of the Syrian conflict onto its own territory.
"This all should be seen as consistent with NATO’s obligations to an important member-state. It is obvious that any NATO mission in Turkey would be at the request of the Turkish government.
"But Turkish authorities are sick and tired of being blamed for the flow of jihadists crossing the border into Syria when they claim, with justification, to have neither the resources nor the full intelligence and law enforcement cooperation with the rest of Europe that such a task requires."
Coats noted that a NATO mission focused on the Turkish-Syrian border would be able to control the flow of would-be jihadists from Europe into Syria, plus catch foreign fighters on their way back home "after serving the ISIL monster."
The senator said that more than 20,000 estimated foreigners have crossed into Syria from Turkey, including 2,500 from NATO allies Germany, France and Great Britain.
"Experience of the past six months tell us that the recruitment of foreign fighters is only going to become more effective and the numbers will continue to grow," Coats said. "The importance of the 350-mile Turkish/Syrian border will remain critical until we get it under control.
"That border is not just between Turkey and the open wound that is Syria, it is between Syria and all of Europe; it is between Syria and NATO. The alliance should meet this challenge as the most urgent of this young century."
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