US commander due to visit Turkey ahead of Mosul operation against ISIL
Sevil Erkuş ANKARA
AP PhotoThe commander of the U.S. Central Command, Gen. Lloyd J. Austin, will pay a visit to Ankara on March 11 ahead of a military operation in Mosul against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Austin will meet Turkey’s Chief of General Staff, Gen. Necdet Özel, and other military officials to discuss the ground operation slated for April in order to defeat and degrade ISIL in Mosul after the group seized the province last June.
The train-and-equip program that Turkey and the United States signed in February to empower the putative moderate Syrian opposition will also be on Austin’s agenda in Ankara.
The U.S. commander visited Jordan, another partner country in the anti-ISIL collation, before his visit to Turkey.
Austin has previously said ISIL is on the defensive and will be beaten without putting U.S. combat troops on the ground in Syria and Iraq.