Turkey says 'has plans' for joint US operation against ISIS
ISTANBUL, Turkey – Turkey's foreign minister on Wednesday said Ankara "has plans" for a joint operation with the United States (US) to end the presence of Islamic State militants along any part of its border with Syria.
Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu told the state-run news agency Anatolia that Islamic State (ISIS) militants still had a presence on some of Turkey's border with northern Syria.
"We have certain plans to put an end to the control that ISIS is still exercising on a zone of our frontier," he said, without specifying the nature of the plans but saying they would be jointly implemented with the US.
"When these plans are completed, our operations will continue with more and more intensity. You will see this in the days to come."
US Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview with CNN late Tuesday that "we are entering an operation with the Turks" to shut off 98 kilometers of border still not secure from ISIS.
Their comments come amid growing momentum for coordinated international action against ISIS after the Paris attacks last week claimed by the extremist Islamist group which killed 129 and injured 350.
ISIS "is still present in a zone on our border. We will not tolerate it keeping a presence on our border," said Sinirlioglu. (READ: ISIS' global ambitions and plans for Southeast Asia)
Turkish security forces on Tuesday killed one suspected ISIS militant seeking to cross into Turkey from Syria, the army said Wednesday.
Twenty-one people, including 9 children, who were part of the group trying to cross the border were detained.
Meanwhile, Turkish police said they detained 8 suspected ISIS members at Istanbul's main airport who had travelled from Morocco, adding they were planning to sneak into Europe posing as refugees.
Turkey has for months been touting the idea of a safe zone for Syrian refugees cleared of ISIS fighters inside, Syria. But the plan has so far found just a lukewarm response from its Western allies and its implementation remains unclear.
Sinirlioglu had said on the sidelines of the Group of 20 meeting in Antalya that at the moment Turkey had "no intention" of using its ground troops to intervene in Syria.
Speaking at the G20, US President Barack Obama had expressed scepticism about a safe zone, saying "a true safe zone requires us to set up ground operations."
"There's a whole set of questions that have to be answered there," including how such a zone would work and whether it would be a "magnet" for terror attacks, Obama added. – Rappler.com