US, Turkey to establish 'Daesh-free zone' along border with Syria

Published July 28th, 2015 - 05:18 GMT

America and Turkey are working on plans to sweep Islamic State (Daesh) fighters from a strip of land along the Turkish border.

An "Islamic State-free zone" would help secure stability along the border between Turkey and Syria, they said.

In providing air cover for Syrian rebels, it would bolster the Nato member's security and provide a safe haven for civilians.

Turkey has long been a reluctant member of the American led coalition against the so-called Islamic State, but made a dramatic U-turn last week when it granted access to its bases and by bombing targets in Syria linked to IS.

Turkey has more than 1.8 million Syrian refugees and asked for a "no-fly zone" in northern Syria to keep Islamic State and Kurdish militants from its border.

It has also asked for help to limit the flow of displaced civilians trying to cross.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the two allies agreed on the need to provide air cover for moderate Syrian rebels fighting Islamic State.

"What we have now is air coverage to clear a region from Daesh (Islamic State) and support the moderate opposition so they can gain control of that region. We do not want to see Daesh on Turkey's borders," he said.

American officials in Washington said discussions were continuing about the size and scope of a safe zone along the border.

"The goal is to establish an ISIL-free zone and ensure greater security and stability along Turkey's border with Syria," a senior American official said.

NATO is set to hold an emergency meeting to discuss security tomorrow following a request from Turkey.

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