Turkey to support train-equip Syrian opposition, says US
Turkey has agreed to support a train and equip program for moderate Syrian fighters as part of its commitment to the U.S.-led coalition against ISIL, according to the U.S., Anadolu agency reported.
"We are looking for a Department of Defense planning team traveling to Ankara next week to continue planning through military channels," said Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman.
Gen. John Allen, the U.S. special envoy to the coalition, and his deputy, Ambassador Brett McGurk, are in Ankara to meet with Turkish Deputy Chief of Defense General Yasar Guler and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
Humanitarian support is also one of the themes throughout the talks, Harf said and both sides are committed to continued humanitarian partnership in support of the more than 1 million Syrian and Iraqi civilians being sheltered in Turkey.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in a gaggle with reporters Thursday noted that the U.S. expected Turkey to give coalition forces access to the Turkish air base in Incirlik and an agreement to help train and equip the moderate Syrian forces.
The train and equip program aims at supporting moderate Syrian opposition in its fight against ISIL, al-Nusra Front, a Islamist group fighting in Syria; and also the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, Harf said.
Turkey's buffer zone proposal that would shied Syrian refugees is still not currently a part of discussion, according to Harf but she said talks continue with Turkish counterparts to clarify their objectives and intentions.