Turkey Approves U.S. Use of Airbases to Fight ISIS

Reuters14.10.2014 MENA
Turkey Approves U.S. Use of Airbases to Fight ISIS

Turkey Approves U.S. Use of Airbases to Fight ISIS

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Turkey has granted the United States access to its airbases for the campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), including the Incirlik airfield in the country’s south, a senior U.S. defense official said, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

“Details of usage are still being worked out,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

The Turkish decision comes as Syrian Kurdish fighters are engaged in fierce fighting with ISIS militants in an effort to maintain the Syrian border town of Kobane under their control.

ISIS launched an offensive to take over Kobane in mid-September where fighting has killed a reported 500 people and forced 200,000 others to flee across the border into Turkey.

U.N. officials have warned of a possible massacre in Kobane, if the militants capture the city which they have been attacking for the past three weeks.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi government troops stationed on the edge of Heet in beleaguered Anbar province have withdrawn to another base, leaving the city under full jihadist control, security sources said on Monday.

ISIS fighters had assaulted and eventually seized the center of the western city on the Euphrates River, but a sizeable contingent of government forces remained holed up in a nearby base.

“Iraqi forces evacuated Heet training camp last night (Sunday) on the orders of the military command,” a senior police official in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, told AFP.

“Our military leaders argued that instead of leaving those forces exposed to attacks by ISIS, they would be best used to shore up the defense of Asad Air Base,” he said.

Ahmed Hamid, who heads the Anbar provincial council's security committee, said around 300 members of the Security Forces pulled out of the Heet training academy a few kilometers northwest of the city.

“Heet is now 100% under ISIS-control,” the Police Colonel said.

Government forces have suffered a string of setbacks in Anbar in recent weeks, and officials have warned that their grip on the capital Ramadi was increasingly tenuous.

Photo: An MV-22 Osprey attached to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 163 launches from the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island.

Source: Reuters



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