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Turkey has no plan to send ground forces to Syria

Turkish FM says deploying ground forces in Syria to fight ISIS should remain on the table

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Turkey does not expect to deploy ground forces in Syria to fight Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), although that option should remain on the table, Foreign Minister Mevult Cavusoglu said in a television interview on Thursday.

“Right now, no ground operation is envisaged, but in the future whatever is needed to fight ISIS - including ground operations - should be done, this is my personal opinion,” Cavusoglu told HaberTurk TV.

His statements come after the U.S. State Department denied there was an agreement between Washington and Ankara to great a “safe zone” in northern Syria.

Turkish Foreign Ministry undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu reportedly said that the two countries had agreed to create a 98 km long and 45 km wide area to be patrolled by members of the Western-backed Free Syrian Army.

In a related story, the U.S. on Wednesday launched its first airstrikes by Turkey-based F-16 fighter jets against ISIS targets in Syria, the Pentagon said. The airstrikes mark a limited escalation of a yearlong air campaign that critics have called excessively cautious.