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Turkey, US to sign agreement against fighters joining ISIS

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Turkey and the US are planning to sign an agreement for cooperation on sharing systematic information about actual and suspected foreign fighters who want to join ranks of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in Syria and Iraq.

“We are working now with government of Turkey on specific details on how we can better share information about people we know to be extremists, people we suspected being extremists,” daily Hurriyet quoted the US Ambassador to Turkey John Bass as saying.

The ambassador cited the mechanism that will enable anti-IS coalition members to share information about suspected foreign fighters quickly, so that they will be prevented before crossing into Syria and Iraq, the ambassador said.

“What we really focused on is how we can improve the coordination between our governments and other members of the coalition to reduce those understanding time lags when actual potential foreign terrorist fighters are moving,” the ambassador said.

Turkey and the US were enhancing cooperation as part of efforts to defeat and degrade the IS in Syria and Iraq, with an agreement signed in February to train and equip the Syrian rebels in a military base in Hirfanli of central Anatolian Kirsehir province of Turkey.

Turkey has beefed up security measures to prevent foreign fighters from crossing into Syria through Turkish territory amid Western countries’ criticism that Ankara did not make its best to stem foreign fighters from joining ranks of the IS in Syria.

Ankara often calls on European countries to share more information on suspected foreign fighters and asks for stopping them before they travel to Turkey.

In April, coalition forces against the IS militants formed a working group “Foundation of the Counter-ISIL Foreign Terrorist Fighters Working Group” to stem flow of foreign fighters into Syria and Iraq in a meeting in the Turkish largest city of Istanbul.