Washington-U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has expected more ISIS attacks against the West, saying jihadists in the strategic northern Syria town of Manbij “aspire” to directing international terror plots.
His remarks on Friday during a press conference in Singapore, where he is attending a regional security summit, came as Belgium’s Interior Minister Jan Jambon visited New York to learn from the experience of U.S. officials ways to counter terrorist attacks.
Jambon, who is also a deputy prime minister and overseer of Belgium’s police forces, expressed admiration for the New York Police Department’s intelligence-gathering, its technology and the bomb-sniffing dogs in its counterterrorism unit.
“In difficult times, one knows their friends,” The New York times quoted Jambon as saying.
He drew parallels between the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, in the United States and the March 22 bombings at the Brussels airport and subway.
In Singapore, Reuters quoted Carter as saying that ISIS fighters have used Manbij as a base to hatch plots against Europe, Turkey and the United States, necessitating a U.S.-backed offensive against it.
He did not elaborate on the plotting he was referring to.
But Reuters quoted a U.S. military official as saying that a small number of U.S. special operations forces are participating in the attack on the region, which he said is of strategic importance.
It comes ahead of an eventual push toward Raqqa, the ISIS de facto capital in Syria.
Carter said last month that defense ministers who represent core countries contributing to the fight against ISIS all agreed that they will continue to do more to accelerate the organization’s lasting defeat.
He spoke in Stuttgart, Germany, after the group’s second meeting.