Turkey talks of possible role in Syria with United States

Turkey talks of possible role in Syria with United States

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey talks of possible role in Syria with United States

In this image from a video, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks from the State Department in Washington on Sept. 1, 2013, making the case for U.S. intervention in Syria. Reuters photo

Turkey has discussed several military options on Syria with the United States in preliminary talks, a Turkish diplomat said today, after a report claimed that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey had offered Washington the use of their military assets for possible intervention.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a phone call to Democratic lawmakers that those were the first three countries to make such offers, and other countries were expected to do so in the coming days as well, according to two people who were on the call, a CNN report said.

Approached by the Hürriyet Daily News, however, a Turkish diplomat dismissed the suggestion that Turkey had offered specific military assets, saying that in the talks several military options had been discussed involving Turkey. “In an action in which NATO would also participate, the possible role Turkey could play and what contributions it could make was discussed,” the diplomat said.

CNN reported that two senior Arab diplomats had said talks with Saudi Arabia and the UAE were preliminary, and no details had been discussed. 

When Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said collateral damage from a strike was expected to be low, some lawmakers reportedly questioned how officials could know that.

But two leading Republican senators who met with President Barack Obama on Sept. 2 said the administration signaled increased support for Syria’s opposition, in a bid to shift the balance of power in the civil war.

“There seems to be emerging from this administration a pretty solid plan to upgrade the opposition,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, according to CNN’s report.

Sen. John McCain said he was more supportive of a limited U.S. strike after the meeting, partly because of the prospect of that increased support. However, both senators reportedly also said they needed more detailed assurances that the U.S. strategy would be sufficiently strong and sustainable before they could endorse it to their colleagues.