Turkey, US sign deal to train and equip Syrian rebels

Turkey and the US signed an agreement for training and equipping the Syrian rebels, the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

Ankara: Turkey and the US signed an agreement for training and equipping the Syrian rebels, the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.

A memorandum of understanding was signed Thursday by US Ambassador John Bass and Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu, Cavusoglu said, reportedly.

The Syrian rebels to be trained and equiped would both fight against the Islamic State (IS) militants and Syrian government forces, Cavusoglu stated.

"This is just the first step. We have many to do. There are chaotic situations in the region and in many places of the world. Therefore, we believe we can make difference if we work together," Sinirlioglu said.

Ambassador Bass, for his part, said Turkey and the US are stronger when they work together.

The program, would be launched in March, aims to train a total of 15,000 Syrian opposition fighters in the three-year period, and 5,000 of them would be trained at a military base in the central Turkish city of Kirsehir.

Washington has said earlier that the priority is not Assad but the threat from the IS.