Turkish military forces will offer training assistance to Syrian forces within the framework of bilateral military cooperation between the two neighboring countries, the Anatolia news agency reported on Monday.
Details of planned military trainings were outlined during a visit by Turkish Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Aslan Güner to Damascus in December, Anatolia said in its report posted from Damascus, as it cited anonymous sources. During his visit to Damascus, Güner participated in a Turkey-Syria Military High-Level Dialogue Meeting and also had talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as the two focused on “strategic dialogue in the military field” and current cooperation between the Syrian and Turkish armies.
The military dialogue meetings between Ankara and Damascus are being held as part of the Adana Protocol, signed in 1998. The land forces of the two countries staged, for the first time, a joint military exercise across the border in April 2009. Turkey and Syria are currently working together against terrorist activities carried out by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
The Syrian army had had an alliance relationship with the former Soviet Union, Anatolia noted. The training of Syrian forces by the Turkish military may eventually lead to a shift of the Syrian army from the Soviet school to the Western school, the agency cited some commentators as arguing.