Turkey, US to train 2,000 ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition fighters

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A handout made available by Turkish Presidential Press Service on November 22, 2014, shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and US Vice President Joe Biden (L) at Beylerbeyi Palace in Istanbul.Biden met Erdogan in Istanbul in a bid to ease strains over the Syria crisis and persuade Turkey to step up its support for the coalition against ISIS jihadists. AFP/Turkish Presidential Press Service

Published Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs official announced that Turkish and US forces will train 2,000 “moderate Syrian opposition fighters” on a base in the city of Kirsehir in central Turkey. Ankara had, in principle, agreed to train and equip Syrian opposition forces as part of the US-led campaign allegedly against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). But details regarding the exact number of fighters to be trained and where the training will take place have yet to be announced.

This announcement came hours after the end of US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Turkey where he met with a number of officials including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish official said the 2,000 fighters are among 5,000 Syrian fighters who will be trained in several countries as part of the US-led campaign.

In a matter related to the Turkish role in the struggle to consolidate influence in northern Syria, raging since the start of the US campaign this past September, Ankara’s influence became apparent yesterday during the meeting of the General Body of the opposition Syrian National Coalition held in Istanbul. The Coalition selected three buffer zones in Syria that should be included in the United Nations envoy Staffan de Mistura’s “road map.” The statement said: “The proposals made by the UN envoy deal with some of the preliminary measures that could prepare the ground for resuming a political process that leads to establishing a transitional government in Syria.” It indicated that the “road map” for these measures “must include... establishing safe zones north of latitude 35° (the northern border area with Turkey), south of latitude 33° (the southern border area with Jordan) and in the Qalamoun region (north of Damascus along the border with Lebanon).

Regarding de Mistura’s proposal to “freeze the fighting” in some areas, particularly in Aleppo, as a prelude to political negotiations, the coalition said: “The proposed local pacification in some areas must be based on what was stated in the Geneva Communique and UN Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2165.” The Geneva Communique issued in June 2012 calls for establishing a transitional government in Syria with “full powers” that would include figures from the current government and from the opposition. Security Council resolution 2165 issued in July 2014 states that humanitarian aid convoys are authorized to cross the Syrian border using crossings that are not necessarily under the control of Syrian regime forces. In a related matter, president of the Coalition, Hadi al-Bahra, decided Sunday evening at the meeting of the Coalition’s General Body to cancel all the decisions made by “some members of the Coalition outside legal procedures and in violation of the statutes” and to refer the appeals contesting the election of the head of the Coalition’s temporary government to an independent commission of inquiry.

(Al-Akhbar, Reuters, AFP)

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Comments

Any Syrian trained in Turkey by the USA, both non Arab countries, will bear the sigma of high treason.

They will never get any recognition and legitimacy in Syria.

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