Turkey’s foreign minister says the United States will deploy a rocket launcher system in southeastern Turkey across the border from Syria.In an interview with the Haberturk newspaper published Tuesday, Mevlut Cavusoglu said U.S. HIMARS missiles would arrive in May as part of a joint effort to combat the Islamic State group.
Turkey regularly shells IS targets in northern Syria in response to cross-border rockets which have hit the Turkish town of Kilis.
Turkish shells have a range of approximately 40 kilometers (25 miles) whereas HIMARS missiles can reach targets 90 kilometers away. HIMARS stands for High Mobility Artillery Rocket System.
“In order to clear the area of Daesh, we have to give the moderate opposition both aerial and ground support,” Cavusoglu said, using an alternative acronym for IS.
Clearing the Manbij area would pave the way for the creation of a “safe zone,” he added.
Turkey has long advocated for the creation of a buffer zone in Syria but failed to get its allies on board.
The nation is part of the U.S.-led coalition against IS and hosts 2.7 million Syrian refugees.