US presses Turkey to play bigger role in ISIL fight
Iran Press TV
Wed Oct 8, 2014 4:29PM GMT
The United States is pressing the Turkish government to play a bigger role in the fight against ISIL by intervening to prevent the terrorists from overrunning the Syrian border town of Kobani.
The White House is growing increasingly frustrated with Turkey over its inaction, as ISIL militants threaten to capture the strategic Turkish town of Kobani next door.
"There's growing angst about Turkey dragging its feet to act to prevent a massacre less than a mile from its border," a senior Obama administration official told the New York Times.
Kobani and its surrounding have been under steady attack by ISIL militants since mid-September, forcing nearly 200,000 people to take refuge in Turkey.
US President Barack Obama is scheduled to discuss Turkey's reluctance so far to help with the fight on ISIL in a meeting Wednesday with the national security council and his secretary of state, John Kerry.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby told Fox News on Wednesday that US officials were in talks with Turkish officials to try to resolve the border crisis.
Kirby acknowledged the 'limits of airpower,' and said the United States needed more assistance on the ground. 'There's just so much you can do from the air. You've got to have willing partners on the ground. You've got to have ground forces.'
Many ISIL targets in Kobani are too close to the Turkish border or Kurdish forces and that makes them difficult targets to strike, according to a senior US military official.
General John Allen, Obama's recently-appointed special envoy for Syria, and his deputy, Ambassador Brett McGurk, will hold talks with Turkish officials in Ankara on Thursday to address "basic logistical questions" regarding Turkey's role in the fight against ISIL.
The US military confirmed on Tuesday that coalition airstrikes had targeted several ISIL positions in the Kobani area in the past two days.
Kurdish officials, meanwhile, said the US-led airstrikes were not working and that Kurdish fighters managed to drive ISIL militants out of several areas in the southern part of Kobani.
The US and several of its Arab allies -- Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, -- have been conducting airstrikes against ISIL militants inside Syria since Sept. 22 without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.
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