Obama and Erdogan agree to stop 'foreign fighters' crossing into Syria

Thousands of foreigners have crossed through Turkey, a NATO member, to join Islamic State over the past few years.

July 23, 2015 04:19
1 minute read.
Obama Erdogan

US President Barack Obama and President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan . (photo credit: REUTERS)


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WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan agreed in a telephone call on Wednesday to work together to "stem the flow of foreign fighters and secure Turkey's border with Syria," the White House said in a statement.

It said the two leaders also discussed deepening their cooperation in the fight against Islamic State, which has grabbed swaths of Syrian and Iraqi territory and declared a caliphate.

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Thousands of foreign fighters have crossed through Turkey, a NATO member, to join Islamic State over the past few years.

The Turkish government has rejected accusations from the opposition that it has in the past tacitly supported Islamic State militants operating from Syria and had unwittingly opened the door to a suicide bombing that killed at least 32 people in a Turkish town near the Syrian border this week.

The White House said Obama had condemned Monday's bombing in the Turkish town of Suruç.

"He conveyed condolences on behalf of the American people to the families of the victims, and the two leaders affirmed that the United States and Turkey stand united in the fight against terrorism," the statement said.

The phenomenon of Israeli Arabs joining the ranks of ISIS in Syria and Iraq is growing and, according to estimates, numbers in the dozens.

The latest report came on Monday when it was revealed that three Israeli Arab youths have been seeking to enter Syria from Turkey in recent days in order to join the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group, according to reports.

The three youths hail from Ramle, Umm al-Fahm and Nazareth. According to reports in Israeli Arab media, the family members of the three youths have been trying to track their movements and prevent them from crossing the border into Syria.

Yasser Okbi/ Maariv Hashavua contributed to this report.

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