Top US commander to visit Turkey amid joint anti-ISIL operations
Sevil Erkuş - ANKARAThe vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul J. Selva will hold talks with his Turkish counterpart during his visit to Turkey on Nov. 24-25, sources have told the Hürriyet Daily News.
Selva will meet Yaşar Güler, the deputy chief of Turkish general staff, to discuss joint efforts to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and planned anti-ISIL coalition operations.
A possible joint military operation to establish a “terror-free zone” in the area between Mare and Jarablus in northern Syria is also said to be on the agenda of the two commanders.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Nov. 17 that the two countries would start an operation to complete the securing of the northern Syrian border, which has been used heavily in the past by ISIL militants.
“Almost the entire border of northern Syria – 75 percent of it - has now been shut off. We are entering an operation with the Turks to shut off the remaining 98 kilometers,” Kerry said in an interview with CNN.
He was referring to a “cleaning operation” to be conducted in a 98-kilometer long zone on the so-called “Mare-Jarablus line,” according to Turkish officials, who claimed that the campaign would kick off soon.
According to the plan, a land operation carried out by “moderate Syrian opposition forces” will be supported by airstrikes of the coalition forces.