Turkey, Russia, U.S. military chiefs hold talks on fight against ISIS

Special to WorldTribune.com

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

The chiefs of staff of the Turkish, Russian, and U.S. militaries are meeting in southern Turkey, amid progress made by a U.S.-led coalition in pushing Islamic State (IS) militants out of Syria.

From left, U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, Turkey’s Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar and Russian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov in Antalya on March 7. / AFP

Hulusi Akar, Joseph Dunford, and Valery Gerasimov are likely to discuss in Antalya the next phases in the fight against the IS group in Syria, where Turkey has been stepping up its efforts against the militants.

“Common issues relating to regional security, in particular Syria and Iraq, are being discussed at the meeting,” the Turkish military said, without giving further details.

Turkey, Russia, and the United States are all fighting the IS group, though they support different sides in the Syrian conflict. Tensions also remain over Turkey’s opposition to the involvement of Syrian Kurdish militia.

Moscow confirmed the meeting, with the Defense Ministry saying in a statement to Russian news agencies, “A joint discussion on security issues in Syria and Iraq is planned.”

The Antalya meeting comes as Iraqi troops, with air and ground support from a U.S.-led coalition, are gaining ground in a large-scale operation aimed at retaking the IS-stronghold of Mosul in Iraq.