Ankara: Turkish armed forces have trained 230 Iraqi Kurdish fighters of the autonomous administration in northern Iraq and will continue the training as long as needed, a media report said Tuesday.
The Turkish Special Forces, known as the “Maroon Berets,” have provided a “subsidiary” training programme for the Iraqi Kurdish fighters since one month in a military camp operated by Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq, Xinhua cited Hurriyet Daily News as quoting Turkish foreign ministry officials.
The training programme is part of the cooperation between Iraqi Kurds and Turkey in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) Sunni radical group.
Turkey will also train up to 2,000 moderate Syrian opposition groups per year, in cooperation with the US.
Ankara and Washington have not finalised discussions on the training and equipment programme of Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters, which will take place in central Anatolian Kirsehir province of Turkey.
Turkey and the US have been trying to narrow “tactical differences” in discussions for the training and equipping programme, according to the officials.
Turkey insists that the train-equip programme for Syrian opposition should not only aim to fight the IS militants, but also defeat the Syrian regime.
As part of his official visit to Iraq Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had talks with Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani in Erbil.
At a joint press conference with Barzani, Davutoglu said the security of Iraq, including the Iraqi Kurdish region, was of vital importance to Turkey.
“Turkey will give all kinds of support to the Kurdish region,” the Turkish prime minister said.
During his visit to northern Iraq, Davutoglu went to Peshmerga military training camp in Diana and a refugee camp in Zakho, the official Anadolu Agency had reported Friday.