ANKARA — NATO allies Turkey and the US have agreed in principle to provide air support to Syrian rebels fighting the regime of Syria's President Bashar Assad, Turkey's foreign minister said.
The planned air support would protect the Syrian opposition fighters who have been trained and equipped by a joint Turkish-US program at a military base in Turkey, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said. Turkey and the US hope to train up to 15,000 rebels.
A US diplomat in Ankara did not comment on how soon the air support for the rebels could start.
Cavusoglu did not elaborate on what "in principle" meant, what kind of air power would be provided or by whom.
"They have to be supported via air. If you do not protect them or provide air support, what is the point?" Cavusoglu told reporters in televised remarks. "There is a principle agreement on providing air support. How it is going to be provided is in the responsibility of the army."
Although Turkey and the US agree on supporting moderate Islamist forces fighting in Syria, they disagree on who should be the priority target.
Burak Ege Bekdil was the Turkey correspondent for Defense News.