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US Hails Turkey's Efforts to Shut Border to IS Infiltration

  • VOA News

This map shows areas cleared and airstrikes in Anbar Province, Iraq, by the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State.

This map shows areas cleared and airstrikes in Anbar Province, Iraq, by the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State.

The United States is hailing Turkey's willingness to work with Washington in efforts against the Islamic State group, saying it has become "much harder" for foreign fighters to cross the Turkish-Syrian border and join IS.

U.S. Special Presidential Envoy Brett McGurk said Tuesday Turkey's deployment of resources to a 98-kilometer stretch of border followed a "very good meeting" in November between U.S. President Barack Obama and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey has been heavily criticized during the past year for failing to fully commit to anti-IS efforts, particularly for its indifference as Syrian Kurds were under assault by IS militants.

Alarmed by Kurdish gains in northern Syria, Turkey offered its military airfields to coalition jets and held talks with U.S. officials on ways to clear IS militants from the occupied border area.

Shutting down that stretch will significantly reduce the capability of IS to smuggle oil, resources and fighters through Turkey to its de facto capital Raqqa, according to U.S. officials.

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