Turkish backed former Central Intelligence Agency jihadists battle ISIS in Syria
- Author: Rogelio Becker Jan 06, 2017,
Jan 06, 2017, 0:40
Yildirim said Turkey does not hold the new administration responsible for this situation, because it was the achievement of the Obama administration, adding the USA should not accept that a "terrorist organization" overshadows the strategic partnership between Washington and Ankara.
The conversation came after recent accusations from Erdogan and his deputies that the United States has been arming "terrorists" in Syria in an apparent reference to US aid given to Syrian Kurdish militias who have been battling IS.
It now appears that the Turkish military is still occupying large portions of Northern Syria with FSA forces acting as local militia, and Ankara is actively leveraging their support from previously Central Intelligence Agency backed "rebel" ISIS affiliates to expel rival groups from territory they seek to own. ISIS turned against Turkey once this route became a lot more restricted, and after Ankara had second thoughts about its initial refusal to permit American and other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces to use Turkish bases as a launching pad for airstrikes against ISIS on Syrian territory.
Kalin said Turkey would consider its "sovereign right" to shut off access to Incirlik Air Base once the situation had been fully "evaluated".
US officials have acknowledged withholding airstrikes from the al-Bab offensive while maintaining overall support for Turkey's anti-ISIS efforts inside Syria, aimed at sealing off border areas. It even has a U.S. Air Force complement of 1,500 airmen.
"The entire world has been made safer by the operations that have been conducted there", he told reporters from Baghdad on Wednesday.
Cook said that Turkish forces last week asked for support from the coalition as they were under attack by Daesh, adding: "Coalition jets provided air cover for Turkish troops".
Nevertheless, Cook denied those allegations, saying, "I'm not aware of specific Turkish-Russian cooperation in al-Bab and I'll leave that to Turkey and Russia to speak to". The U.S. previous year withdrew military families from Turkey, and the State Department has also sent home non-essential personnel. He recognized that relations with the United States are going through a crisis due to the support of the U.S. for the People Protection Unit, Kurdish militias from the north of Syria that Anakara regards as a terrorist group. "Giving arms to the [Kurdish militias], the US chose a terrorist organization over its ally". The YPG has proven to be the most effective fighting force against ISIS in Syria, but Erdogan considers it an arm of the Kurdish PKK, or Kurdistan Workers Party, which has been branded a terrorist group by the USA and Turkey. The U.S. has repeatedly offered help over the past few weeks, both officials said, but the Turks continue to turn it down.
That's right, 1,500 U.S. Air Force personnel are now stationed at the base.
Erdogan and other Turkish officials have charged that the U.S.is supplying weapons to the YPG.