US, Turkey’s top commanders discuss Iraq, Syria
WASHINGTON - Anadolu Agency
AA photoThe United States’ top soldier, Gen. Joseph Dunford, met Turkey’s Chief of General Staff, Gen. Hulusi Akar, at the Turkish Embassy in Washington on Oct. 16 to discuss recent regional developments, including an operation to free Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Akar is in Washington for a meeting of the anti-ISIL coalition that will kick off on Oct. 17 at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
In a nearly two-hour meeting, the two commanders reportedly discussed a range of issues, including Turkish military operations in Syria and the Mosul operation.
The meeting between Dunford and Akar was held on the heels of an operation by Turkish-backed Syrian rebels that recaptured the city of Dabiq, an ISIL-controlled in northern Syria.
Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield in late August to drive ISIL out of the Manbij pocket – a 98-kilometer strip of land along the Turkish-Syrian border.
Another key agenda point during the meeting, according to Turkish military sources, was the operation to retake Mosul from ISIL.
Akar underscored Turkey’s concerns about possible refugee flows and sectarian feuds that might rock the city after ISIL militants are removed.
Turkey has expressed concerns about a sectarian attitude toward the predominantly Sunni population in Mosul.
Ankara has insisted that nearly 3,000 Sunni tribal forces trained by Turkish forces at the Bashiqa base on the eastern outskirts of Mosul join the fight against ISIL and remain in the city as a police force. Baghdad is still at odds with that proposal.