US close to deal with Turkey over ISIL mission: Report

US close to deal with Turkey over ISIL mission: Report

US close to deal with Turkey over ISIL mission: Report

A U.S. Navy F/A-18 launches from the USS Carl Vinson in this undated handout picture, Nov. 1. REUTERS Photo

The United States and Turkey are closing in on a deal that will allow the U.S. military and allied forces to use Turkish air bases in their campaign against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in Syria, the Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 1.

The newspaper, citing U.S. and Turkish officials, said the agreement could include a safe zone along a portion of the Syrian border to protect refugees and certain opposition forces that would also “be off-limits” to aircraft from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

Allowing the United States and its allies to use Turkey’s bases would allow the coalition forces another foothold from which to launch continued strikes against the militants.

Turkey has agreed to allow 2,000 opposition fighters to be trained within its borders and has sent Turkish special forces to Iraq to train Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, the report said.

According to the WSJ, the agreement moves away from a larger formal “no fly” zone sought by Turkish officials covering a wider swath of northern Syria.

The paper also said Turkish officials are considering invoking Ankara’s right to self-defense under the United Nations charter by writing to the U.N. in order to justify the use of its bases. That could allow other North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies to join the fight against Islamic State militants, it said.