In the early 2000s, it was a common sight to see Islamic State fighters in the streets of Istanbul’s Sultanahmet Square, in front of the famous Golden Temple, or at the heart of the city’s tourist industry.
But since then, the group has expanded its reach, taking control of a vast stretch of the country, and even took control of the capital Ankara.
And the Islamic Emirate is just one of a number of militant groups in the region who are now being funded by the US, the Turkish government says.
Read moreAt least 10 countries, including Australia, Saudi Arabia, France, Egypt and Jordan, have signed a deal with the US to support a $1.2 billion effort to train and equip Iraqi, Kurdish and Syrian forces fighting Islamic State.
But the plan faces considerable challenges, with some experts saying that it would be impossible to train tens of thousands of fighters in all three groups at once.
The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are one of the main players in the fight against Islamic State in Syria, while the US has been providing air cover for the SDF.
While the SDS is the dominant force in Syria’s north, Turkey has long accused the SFS of being a terrorist organisation.
But the US-backed Turkish military has so far managed to avoid a direct confrontation with the SSPs Kurdish fighters, who have been fighting alongside the SDP since last year.
“The Kurds have been training the Syrian SDF in cooperation with the United States, and in turn they have been providing the SAA with air cover,” the military’s official newspaper Hurriyet quoted a senior Turkish military official as saying on Friday.
“But that air cover has been largely provided to the SSS and not the SFF.”
According to the US official, the SUSP will now be supported by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the SCC will receive assistance from Egypt.
The US has also agreed to provide logistical support to the Iraqi and Syrian Kurdish forces.
The agreement was announced in a joint statement with the UK and Saudi Arabia.
“It’s a good agreement for the US and Turkey, both because it’s a deal that can serve to build trust, and because it helps the SNCs (Syrian Democratic Forces) to fight Daesh, the Islamic extremist group, in Syria,” the US said in a statement.
The SNC is a Kurdish militia formed by the SDC that has taken over swathes of northern and western Syria since 2014.
Its fighters are now backed by the American-led coalition, but their presence has been restricted.
Last week, Iraqi forces recaptured a key town in the north-west of the SIS-controlled province of Raqa, just a few kilometres from Raqa airport, the main SDF base.
The town was the scene of a major offensive by the Iraqi forces against the militants, who had taken control of large parts of Raqaa last year, including a key oil field.
But on Saturday, Iraqi Kurdish fighters took over the town and pushed the SPD and SDF out of the town.
The Iraqi government has called the offensive a “coup”, and said it would continue to defend the town against the Islamic fighters.
The Pentagon has said that US special forces will be involved in the operation, as well as Iraqi special forces and the Iraqi air force.
On Sunday, a US Army soldier, who is in Iraq as part of a training mission, said the US had been providing training for Iraqi Kurdish forces in the area, and that there were about 2,500 American troops in the Kurdish area.