Prime Ministry sources deny use of Turkish air space in anti-ISIL attacks
A F/A-18F Super Hornet lands aboard the aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush after conducting strike missions against ISIL on Sept 23 in this handout picture courtesy of the US Navy. (REUTERS/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian Stephens/US Navy/Handout via Reuters)Neither Turkish airspace, nor its military bases were used in the late Sept. 23 airstrikes by the coalition forces against the jihadist targets in the Kobane region of Syria, sources from the office of the Prime Ministry have said.
The statement came after a monitoring group claimed warplanes hitting Kobane came from Turkish airspace.
Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the warplanes that carried out the raids west of the city of Kobane, also known as Ayn al-Arab, had come from the direction of Turkey. He added that they were not Syrian. The group, which gathers its information from a network of activists across Syria, had no further evidence on the use of Turkish airspace.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Sept. 23 that he was considering expanding support for NATO operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to include military involvement.
Erdoğan’s comments Sept. 23 to Turkish reporters in New York mark a potential shift in Turkey’s position on international efforts to fight the group.
Erdoğan spoke on the sidelines of an annual meeting of world leaders at the United Nations, hours after U.S. and Arab allies launched airstrikes on ISIL targets in Syria.
Turkey has so far offered limited support, partly because ISIL had been holding 46 Turkish hostages, as well as three Iraqi nationals.
Erdoğan said Turkey was now considering a role that “includes everything. Both military and political,” Doğan News Agency reported.
“Of course we will do our part,” he said.
A U.S.-led alliance launched airstrikes on ISIL in Syria on Sept. 23. ISIL last week launched an offensive against the predominantly Kurdish town of Kobane, forcing more than 130,000 Syrian Kurds to flee.