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Iran Press TV

Pentagon chief says US wants access to Turkey airbase

Iran Press TV

Fri Oct 10, 2014 5:29AM GMT

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel urges Turkey to let the United States use a key Turkish airbase as a launching ground for airstrikes in neighboring Syria.

The Pentagon chief said Thursday that the US planned to station various aircraft at the airbase at Incirlik near the Syrian border as part of the efforts to fight the ISIL terrorist group controlling large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria.

Hagel also said that an agreement to train and equip "moderate" Syrian militants would be a key form of assistance the United States would want to see from Turkey.

His remarks came a day after Secretary of State John Kerry said that preventing the fall of Kobani was not a "strategic objective" of Washington.

ISIL militants have so far managed to capture more than a third of the strategic border town.

Frustration is growing in Washington over the Turkish government's inaction about the ISIL terrorist group.

Kerry, his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu, and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu have held talks multiple times over the past few days to discuss the Kobani crisis.

The US and several of its regional allies--Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates-- have been conducting airstrikes against ISIL militants inside Syria since last month without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.

The air campaign has largely failed to halt ISIL advances.

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since March 2011. The US and its Arab allies, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have been supporting the militants operating inside Syria since the beginning of the crisis.


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