- The Washington Times - Friday, March 21, 2003

WASHINGTON, March 21 (UPI) — The United States is aware that Turkish troops are crossing the border into Northern Iraq, a Pentagon official told United Press International Friday.

The official added that there was no indication the troops were crossing the border to engage in combat.

The Turkish troops are in a buffer zone meant to stop the flow of refugees fleeing the war and crossing into Turkey.

"You can be certain that we have advised the Turkish government and the Turkish armed forces that it would be notably unhelpful if they went into the north in large numbers," Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Friday.

Turkish troops regularly cross the border in small numbers for security purposes.

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