An agreement reached between Turkey and the United States on what they call cooperation against the ISIL terrorist group also includes establishing a no-fly zone over the Arab country, a Turkish newspaper says.
Turkey’s leaders had on Friday confirmed that a deal had been reached, and said it would enable the US to use the key Turkish Incirlik Air Base, which is located near Syria.
However, Turkish newspaper Hurriyet said that the agreement also outlines a 90-kilometer (56 mile) no-fly zone between the Syrian towns of Marea and Jarabulus.
Hurriyet said the no-fly zone would shield a planned safe zone on the ground that would extend up to 50 kilometers (31 miles) inside Syria.
“US planes equipped with bombs and missiles will be able to use the Incirlik Air Base,” and Turkey could back up their air raids with artillery, the newspaper wrote.
Syrian warplanes would be targeted should they enter the no-fly zone, according to the report.
Turkey itself carried out aerial attacks using three F-16 fighter jets against what were said to be ISIL targets inside Syria.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the Turkish warplanes were “100 percent” successful in their strikes inside Syria, noting, “The operation against IS (ISIL) reached its target and will not stop.”
The pledge to confront ISIL Takfiris comes despite Turkey’s longtime support for the militancy against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, with reports showing that Ankara actively trains and arms the Takfiri extremists operating in Syria, and also facilitates the safe passage of foreign terrorists into the Arab country.
Ankara and Washington previously signed a deal to train and arm the anti-Damascus Takfiris. The program, which officially started earlier this month, is aimed at training over 15,000 militants in three years. Over 120 US soldiers are reportedly in Turkey to train the militants.