The US State Department on Tuesday denied it has agreed to a "safe zone" in northern Syria, after broadcaster CNN Turk quoted a senior Turkish diplomat as saying the countries have settled on terms for such a zone in their campaign against Islamic State, Reuters reported.
"There's no agreement on some kind of zone," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said when asked about the report.
CNN Turk quoted foreign ministry undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu as saying the countries agreed to create a 98 km (61 miles) long and 45 km wide area to be patrolled by members of the opposition Free Syrian Army.
Toner said he had not seen the official's remarks and could not address them. "I'm not denying his claims," he said.
"We've been pretty clear from the podium and elsewhere saying there's no zone, no safe haven, we're not talking about that here. What we're talking about is a sustained effort to drive ISIL out of the region," Toner said at a news briefing.
Turkey and the United States have been working on plans to provide air cover for Syrian rebels and sweep Islamic State from land along the Turkish border.
Under the strategy, moderate Syrian rebels, trained by the U.S. Army, will fight the Islamic militant group on the ground and help coordinate air strikes by the U.S. coalition, launched from Turkish air bases.
US and Turkish forces would hit Islamic State or PKK militants if they entered the safe zone, CNN Turk quoted Sinirlioglu as saying.
Diplomats familiar with the plans say cutting off one of Islamic State's lifelines could be a game-changer in this corner of Syria's complex war. The core of the US -trained rebels, who number fewer than 60, will be highly equipped and be able to call in close air support when needed, they say.
US officials have previously said discussions were ongoing about the size and scope of a safe zone along the border, but that the aim would be to clear it of Islamic State fighters and allow moderate rebels to operate freely. They have ruled out a formal no-fly zone.