WASHINGTON, February, 18. /TASS/. Turkish authorities have agreed to provide Syrian opposition forces fighting against the Islamic State with territory for training bases, the representative of the US State Department Jen Psaki reported in briefing on Tuesday. According to her, an agreement with Ankara in principle is achieved. “As we have announced before, Turkey has agreed to be one of the regional hosts for the train-and-equip program for moderate Syrian opposition forces. We expect to conclude and sign the agreement with Turkey soon,” Psaki said.
Washington expects the agreement to be signed in the near future. The program is planned to be realized in March.
Earlier the State Secretary John Kerry claimed that the coalition forces are going to train 12 new military brigades in Iraq to fight against the IS and to start training Syrian fighters in the territory of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar in spring.
“Daesh [the Arabic acronym of the Islamic State] is a global problem, and it demands a coordinated, comprehensive, and enduring global response,” Kerry noted. International forces have already managed to impede the IS advance with airstrikes and to counterattack it in several cases. At the same time he dismissed the speculations in Western mass media about the zone of the IS influence widening through its new partisans in Libya and Afghanistan.
Kerry stressed that all the sixty members of the coalition forces contributed to the coalition’s functioning. A group of “key coalition members” will be formed in order to manage the coalition forces and to cooperate with all the 60 state-members realizing a coordinated, joint and efficient strategy. Next plenary meeting would be held later this year, the State Secretary added.
According to the head of the Jordanian Air Force General Mansour al-Jbour, at least 7 thousand IS fighters have been eliminated during the counter-terrorist operation of the coalition forces in Iraq and Syria over two weeks. "We achieved what we aimed for. We destroyed logistics centers, arms depots and targeted hideouts of their fighters. We are determined to wipe them from the face of the Earth," the General said. The coalition has managed to eliminate 20% of IS military capability, he added. The General highlighted that the next goals of the international coalition were the elimination of the IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, destruction of command centers and training bases of the IS militants and suppression of oil illicit traffic that was the main financing resource of the IS fighters.
On Sunday evening, IS militants published a video showing the apparent beheadings of 21 Copts (Egyptian Christians) from the city of Samalut in the Minya governorate to the south of Cairo. The Copts were captured by Islamic militants at the end of last year in Libya, and there was no information about their fate until the video was released.