U.S. defense officials said that Turkey agreed to allow the United States and its allies in the Arab world to use military air bases in Turkey to launch airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against Islamic State.
Officials from the White House said that an assessment team from the U.S. would arrive this week in Turkey to determine what types of missions will be flown from the bases inside Turkey, and to iron out details of its training program planned for Syrian rebels that was also agreed to this past weekend.
A government official from Turkey on Sunday said that Turkey set the amount of opposition fighters that were to be trained at 4,000 and Turkish intelligence would screen them.
The government in Turkey has been under pressure from the White House to participate in a greater way in fighting the Islamic State as a bloody battle takes place in Kobani a town in Syria on the border with Turkey.
The fighting forced thousands of refugees who are Kurdish to flee to Turkey.
As the fighting raged on Sunday in Kobani, John Kerry the U.S. Secretary of State acknowledged it was a very tenuous situation. While speaking Sunday in Cairo, Kerry said defending Kobani does not define the strategy of international counterterrorism.
Parts of the town have been lost to the Islamic State, Kerry indicated, but not all. The United Nations warned of huge casualties if the town fell.
Kerry said the United States has remained realistic about the length of time it needs to defeat the IS militants. Officials have said it could take years of efforts in counterterrorism to win.
Coalition and U.S. aircraft have bombed the area as well as around Kobani for a number of days, with airstrikes on many locations.
The Central Command for the U.S. said its warplanes as well as those from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia launched strikes in Syria on four locations including three in the area of Kobani that destroyed a fighting position of IS as well as one of the group’s staging areas.
Susan Rice the national security adviser for President Obama said on Sunday that the U.S. did not ask Turkey to send in ground troops into Syria.