Turkey says it struck deal with US on air support for Syria rebels

US officials acknowledged ongoing discussions with Turkey about a range of options to step up the fight against Islamic State, but said no decisions had been made.

By REUTERS
May 25, 2015 21:36
1 minute read.
A UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter

A UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The United States and Turkey have agreed "in principle" to give air support to some forces from Syria's mainstream opposition, Turkey's foreign minister said, in what if confirmed could mark an expansion of US involvement in the conflict.

US officials acknowledged ongoing discussions with Turkey about a range of options to step up the fight against Islamic State, but said no decisions had been made.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


"We're in ongoing discussions with the Turks across all lines of counter-ISIL efforts. Our understanding is no decisions have been made," said one US defense official who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Washington has so far refrained from committing to enforcing a "safe zone" for Syrian rebels, as it could be seen as a declaration of war on the Syrian state.

The air support would protect Syrian rebel forces who have been trained by a US-led program on Turkish territory, said minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. The long-delayed scheme is meant to send 15,000 troops back to Syria to fight Islamic State militants.

Cavusoglu did not go into details on what "in principle" meant or what kind of air power would be provided or by whom.

"They have to be supported via air. If you do not protect them or provide air support, what is the point?," Cavusoglu told the pro-government Daily Sabah newspaper during a visit to Seoul.



"There is a principle agreement on providing air support. How it is going to be provided is in the responsibility of the army."

The US-led training program has been mired in delays amid media speculation of disagreements between the two NATO allies.

Turkey has said that any support program must be part of a comprehensive strategy which includes battling forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Washington has maintained its opposition to Assad, but said that the goal of training is only to defeat Islamic State militants.

Cavusoglu reiterated that while fighting Islamic State is prioritized, the "regime must also be stopped."

The minister also dismissed media speculation that Turkey and Saudi Arabia had agreed on a joint operation in Syria.

Related Content

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
July 21, 2018
Khamenei backs blocking Gulf oil exports if Iranian sales stopped

By REUTERS