US and Turkey agree to military cooperation along Turkish-Syrian border
(29 July 2015)
The US and Turkey plan to create an Islamic-State-Free Zone along the Turkish-Syrian border. Military cooperation with the US builds upon the recent shift in Turkish policy towards Islamic State, which has involved airstrikes against military targets in Syria as well as allowing the US to use the Incirlik Air Base.
The border campaign involves a 110-kilometer area on the border between Turkey and Syria currently under the control of the Islamic State. Turkey and the US have agreed to focus military cooperation in that area, eventually planning to establish a safe zone where displaced Syrians could take refuge. While the military plans do not include a no-fly zone nor US or Turkish ground forces, the deal marks a major policy shift for the Turkish government, which had seen the border zone become a smuggling centre for oil and weapons, and a transit hub for fighters joining Islamic State.
While the border campaign could establish an extensive area for refugees from Syria to settle, news analysis by the AP argues that without a no-fly zone, the area would not be safe from Syrian airstrikes and could therefore leave refugees vulnerable to attack.
US, Turkey Seek to Establish Islamic State-Free Zone, 27 July 2015, ABC News, http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/us-turkey-seek-establish-islamic-state-free-zone-32705329
AP News Guide: Turkish-US Deal May Have Far-Reaching Effects, 28 July 2015, ABC News, http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/ap-news-guide-turkish-us-deal-reaching-effects-32734715