Turkey and the U.S. have agreed in “principle” to provide air protection to Syrian rebels being trained and equipped to fight Islamic State militants, once they enter Syrian territory for battle, Turkey’s foreign minister said.

The two countries agreed in February to train and equip up to 15,000 Syrians under the $500 million U.S. program designed to add a credible ground force to an air bombing campaign against the militant group.

The program suffered unexplained delays as the U.S. resisted Turkish calls for the force to be also prepared to fight the Syrian regime and the sides tried to reach agreement on who to train.

The U.S. has also refused a Turkish proposal for enforcing a safe area and a no-fly zone in Syria, prompting questions on how trained rebels would be protected when they entered Syria.

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