Turkey, US discuss ways to enhance joint anti-ISIL fight

Turkey, US discuss ways to enhance joint anti-ISIL fight

Turkey, US discuss ways to enhance joint anti-ISIL fight

Turkish soldiers keep watch from an observation tower in the Nusaybin district on the border with Syria's northeastern city of Qamishli in the Hasakeh province on March 7, 2015. AFP Photo

Senior Turkish and U.S. diplomats have discussed ways to enhance cooperation in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the U.S. Embassy to Ankara has stated, reiterating that Washington does not foresee a role for Bashar al-Assad in the future of Syria.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s special envoy General John Allen and his deputy Ambassador Brett McGurk were in Ankara to hold talks with Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu, read the statement issued by the embassy. Describing the talks as constructive, the statement quoted General Allen as welcoming Turkey’s support in training vetted Syrian opposition, noting recent Turkish actions to increase border security and restrict the flow of foreign fighters, and thanking Turkey for its generosity in hosting Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

“General Allen reiterated that the United States’ position on al-Assad has not changed. The United States believes that he has lost all legitimacy to govern, that conditions in Syria under his rule have led to the rise of ISIL and other terrorist groups, and that we continue to seek a negotiated political‎ outcome to the Syrian conflict that does not in the end include al-Assad,” it added.

General Allen, Ambassador McGurk and Undersecretary Sinirlioğlu discussed a number of ways in which the United States and Turkey can enhance cooperation on counter-ISIL efforts and committed to further dialogue on those issues, the statement said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement last weekend, in which he said they must negotiate with al-Assad for a solution to the Syrian crisis has sparked criticism from Ankara, with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu likening shaking hands with al-Assad to shaking hands with Adolf Hitler and Slobodan Milosevic. Washington later corrected Kerry’s statement.