No deal on Syrian rebel train-equip program yet: Turkish minister
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz.No deal has yet been reached over moderate Syrian rebels being trained and equipped in Turkey, Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz has said, saying the talks over the issue are still continuing.
A Turkish Foreign Ministry official had the told Hürriyet Daily News on Nov. 24 that Turkish and U.S. forces have agreed to train 2,000 Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters at a base in the central Turkish city of Kırşehir as part of the campaign against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) insurgents.
When asked about the reports on Nov. 25, Yılmaz avoided confirming the claims.
“The talks are continuing,” the minister said in response to reporters’ questions before attending his party’s group meeting at Parliament.
“Whenever these negotiations are finalized, both parties will sign an agreement … As far as I know, no agreement has been signed yet. Therefore, the negotiations are continuing,” he added.
A Foreign Ministry official speaking to the Daily News had said Turkey and the U.S. have been trying to narrow “tactical differences” in the discussions for the training and equipping program for the FSA.
The official had added that any final agreement would have to be approved by Parliament after a legal examination of the text.