U.S. and Turkish authorities are discussing plans to intensify support to the moderate Syrian opposition in a bid to push the Islamic State group back from the Turkish border, the U.S. Ambassador to Ankara said Thursday.
“We have had some progress in recent weeks as these groups pushed further east along the border,” John Bass told journalists.
“There is conversation with the Turkish military and government to talk about opportunities to intensify support to those groups and to push Daesh (IS) east from the current line.”
Syrian rebel forces have in recent week snatched control of several IS-controlled villages near the Turkish border, thanks to an offensive launched by the Free Syrian army (FSA) — backed by both Turkey and the United States.
However relations between NATO allies Washington and Ankara have soured in recent months over the Syria conflict and human rights issues in Turkey.
Washington has urged Turkey to do more to fight IS jihadists and Ankara has become increasingly frustrated over U.S. backing for Kurdish fighters.
Washington has been backing Kurdish Syrian fighters of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) as the best force in the fight against IS.
But Turkey categorizes the PYD as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which has fought a decades-long insurrection against the Turkish state.