Pentagon says deal reached with Turkey on ISIS air strikes

Turkey to be involved in US coalition against ISIS militant group

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Turkey and the United States have reached an agreement on Turkey's involvement in the US-led coalition on the ISIS militant group in Syria and Iraq, the Pentagon confirmed on Tuesday.

Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook told reporters on Tuesday that the US is still discussing border operations with Turkey and that putting technical arrangements into place at an operational level could take "a few days."

"We believe that Turkey is committed to fully participating as soon as possible," Cook added.

Turkish media recently reported that Turkey and the US signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) determining allied military planning in order to clear ISIS forces from an area between Marea and Jarablus in northern Syria. The reports define the length of the area as 98 kilometres.

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces will be deployed in the areas cleared from ISIS by the allied forces according to the MOU. Syrian refugees who stay in Turkey could be settled in the the cleared areas following effective operations against the group, the media reports added.

There have been various and conflicting reports on the dimensions of the zone because American media and Turkish media have given different accounts on the length and depth of the region referring to their respective anonymous officials.  

It has previously been reported that the ISIS-free zone will be in a 110-kilometre long area along Syrian border between Azez and Jarablus which will have about 60 kilometres deep in the Syrian territory reaching the province of Aleppo.

However, Reuters is now reporting that the area will be “a rectangle of border territory roughly 80 km (50 miles) long,” according to “officials familiar with the plans.”

The allies have also had some problems to name the zone. Turkey usually prefers the term “safe zones” or “security zones” in order to describe the areas while the US does not seem to intend to use a specific term for the zones.

Eventually, the allies have apparently settled with the term “ISIS-free zone,” which will be a kind of “de facto safe zone,” according to recent media reports.

TRTWorld and agencies