Turkey, US Agree “in Principle” to Give Air Support to Syrian Rebels

World | May 25, 2015, Monday // 19:26|  views

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu attends a joint news conference after a EU-Turkey association council meeting at the European Council Headquarters in Brussels, 18 May 2015. Photo EPA/BGNES

Turkey and the US have agreed “in principle” to provide air cover to Syrian rebels being trained and equipped to fight against Islamic State once they return to Syria, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said.

In an interview with Turkey’s Daily Sabah newspaper Cavusoglu said the air support would protect Syrian rebels being trained under a US-led programme, which started in the Turkish province of K?rsehir recently and aims to train up to 2,000 fighters until the end of 2015.

The two countries agreed in February to train and equip up to 15,000 Syrians under the USD 500 M US programme designed to add a credible ground force to an air bombing campaign against Islamic State positions.

There was no immediate comment from US officials on Cavusoglu’s assertion, Reuters said in its coverage of the news, adding that the US 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 Syria.

The programme to train and equip members of the moderate Syrian opposition to Islamic State has been faced with considerable difficulties and delays. The government of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has criticised the programme, accusing the US of directly supporting ‘’terrorists’’, while some rebels have dismissed the programme as ineffective or criticised its focus on fighting Islamic State instead of the Syrian regime.

The announcement by Cavusoglu came less than a week after Islamic State fighters captured the Syrian city of Palmyra and stormed into Ramadi, capital of Iraq’s largest province, Anbar, calling into question the effectiveness of months of US-led air strikes against the militants.

We need your support so Novinite.com can keep delivering news and information about Bulgaria! Thank you!

Tags:   US, Syria, turkey, Islamic state, Cavusoglu, Palmyra, Ramadi 


» Related Articles: