US Vice President Joe Biden announces $135 mn aid for Syrian civilians

Written by | November 23, 2014 | 0

Istanbul: Vice President Joe Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emerged from a nearly four-hour meeting Saturday, offering no indication that the U.S. and Turkey had bridged their differences about how to deal with Islamic State fighters or Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Biden announced $135 million in new U.S. aid for Syrian civilians, including some for Turkey, which is hosting 1.6 million refugees, but the two leaders didn’t offer details about how they were working together to ramp up Ankara’s role in the international coalition’s fight against IS fighters in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

The setting to achieve common ground on their separate strategies for Syria could not have been better: Erdogan’s elegant residence in Istanbul, overlooking the Bosphorus Bridge that connects Europe and Asia. But if they made any deals, they did it privately.

In statements to reporters after their meeting, each lauded the six-decade relationship between the two NATO allies.

But there was no mention of Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base, which the U.S. wants to use to launch strikes against IS militants in Syria and Iraq. Biden only briefly mentioned Turkey’s plans to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition fighters, but no details were disclosed. Neither mentioned Turkey’s call for a no-fly zone, or safe zone, in northern Syria, where Western-backed opposition fighters would be safe from Assad’s air force.


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