Turkey will start combating Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists inside northern Syria "soon," its foreign minister vowed Wednesday as he met US Secretary of State John Kerry in Malaysia.
"Now we are training and equipping the moderate (Syrian) opposition together with the United States, and we will also start our fight against Daesh very effectively soon," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters at the start of the meeting with Kerry, using the Arab acronym for the terror group.
"Then the ground will be safer for the moderate opposition that are fighting Daesh on the ground," he added.
Turkey has been accused of symbolically striking ISIS so as to launch a war against Kurdish forces, which the US has asked it to tone down. Significantly, Western officials recently revealed Turkey has been cooperating with ISIS.
Cavusoglu and Kerry met at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur on the sidelines of a regional security gathering hosted by the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Washington has long been pushing its historic ally Turkey to step up the fight against Islamic State, something Ankara had until recently been reluctant to do.
That position partially changed after a deadly suicide bombing inside Turkey that was blamed on Islamic State.
Turkey has since carried out a series of air strikes, claiming they were targeting militants from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq as well as Islamic State terrorists.
But observers say PKK fighters been on the receiving end of far more airstrikes that ISIS.
Last month Ankara also said it would allow US warplanes to launch attacks against Islamic State from Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey.
The moves marked a significant increase in Turkey's role in the fight against the terrorists, who have seized large areas of Syria and Iraq.
Turkey shares a 500-mile (800-kilometer) border with Syria, and a section of its southern frontier abuts directly with territory controlled by the ISIS group. Over that border seized documents have revealed how ISIS smuggled black-market oil to sell to Turkey, which helped prop up the group financially via the purchases.
AFP contributed to this report.