05-08-2021 07:04 AM Jerusalem Timing

Turkey Says ’Train-and-Equip Program’ to Continue

Turkey Says ’Train-and-Equip Program’ to Continue

Turkey will keep contributing to the training and equipment of Syrian opposition fighters, in accordance with its agreement with the US.

Turkish soldierTurkey will keep contributing to the training and equipment of Syrian opposition fighters, in accordance with its agreement with the US, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

"Within the scope of the agreement with US, the train-and-equip program is being carried out as outlined,” spokesman Tanju Bilgic said at a press conference Thursday.

He said that after the first group which has already entered Syria, a second group of 100 people were currently receiving training.

“Moving forward, train-and-equip activities will continue uninterruptedly," Bilgic said.

A total of 54 Syrian opposition fighters went into the country early in August after completing a training regimen at the beginning of July.

Bilgic added that the ministry expected joint air operations with the US against the so-called 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant' (ISIL) takfiri group to start “soon”.

Turkey has opened its airbases to support the anti-ISIL coalition, but has not itself carried out airstrikes against ISIL targets in coordination with coalition aircraft.

The train-and-equip program, jointly organized by the US and coalition partners, is intended to help prepare the so-called "moderate Syrian opposition fighters" in the campaign against ISIL. It is part of an agreement signed by the US and Turkey on Feb. 17 to allow up to 1,000 US troops to participate in the training in Turkey.