US offers border technology to Turkey in IS fight
The US has offered Turkey technology to block the Islamic State group at the Syrian border, said senior US officials.
Washington and Ankara have spent months discussing ways to fortify the 98-km-long stretch of land, the last piece of unsecured border between Syria and Turkey.
IS controls the Syrian side of the border and has been transferring fighters, black-market goods and war merchandise across the unsecured section.
Some IS members involved in the Paris attacks last November used or tried to use this border area to cross between IS held territory and Europe, US officials told Reuters.
The equipment on offer is likely to include surveillance balloons and anti-tunneling technology. The US is also willing to share methods for detecting material used in improvised explosive devices, said US officials who requested anonymity.
"We like what we're seeing in terms of their actions and we want to work with them to tighten the screws a little bit further," said a senior US administration official.
US Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Turkey on Thursday to discuss the fight against IS with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
Jeh Johnson, the US homeland security secretary, is also due to visit Turkey in February to offer specific border-control technologies, said the US officials.
So far Turkey has deployed 25,000 additional soldiers and installed concrete barriers and fences along the border, but this has not been enough to secure it.
Earlier this month, a Syria-linked suicide bomber was blamed for killing at least ten people in central Istanbul.