Turkey and the United States will begin training and equipping moderate Syrian opposition fighters on March 1st within the framework of a February 19th agreement signed by the two countries, Ankara has announced.
“I can say that it will begin as of March 1st,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç briefly told reporters at a press conference on Feb. 27.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Syrian opposition groups will be trained and equipped by a joint U.S.-Turkey program that will also fight against the Syrian regime.
The trained Syrian opposition members are “expected to fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL] and elements of the [Syrian] regime,” Çavuşoğlu said Feb. 19th to answer whether the program also aims to struggle against Syrian regime forces. Turkey and the U.S. were on the same page on this issue, Çavuşoğlu said.
The trained Syrian opposition members would “naturally fight against elements threatening the integrity of Syria,” he said, noting that both “terrorist organizations, especially ISIL and the Syrian regime, are a threat to Syria’s stability. … They both kill innocent people,” he said.
The Syrian Coalition praises the US-Turkish efforts to train and equip elements of the FSA and empowering them in the battle against the terrorism of both the Assad regime and ISIS. (Source: Syrian Coalition + Anadolu Agency)