İncirlik base in Turkey being used to support anti-ISIL Raqqa operation: Pentagon
Cansu Çamlıbel - WASHINGTONThe İncirlik air base in southern Turkey is being used to support the U.S.-backed forces’ recent move to clear Syria’s Raqqa of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a Pentagon spokesperson said on June. 6.
The U.S. is sensitive about the concerns of Turkey, spokesperson Jeff Davis stated, adding that the guns provided by the U.S. to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been used “only against ISIL.”
The People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey sees as a terrorist group for its links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), constitutes the backbone of the SDF, the ground force that is carrying out the Raqqa operation with aerial support from the anti-ISIL coalition, which includes Turkey.
Davis said the operation began early on June 6.
Ankara has strongly opposed the YPG’s participation in the operation on Raqqa, calling on Washington to cease its ties with the group and consider Turkey as a partner.
“We will not let any situation emerge that would pose risks for our country,” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on June 6, addressing his party deputies in parliament.
“If we come across any situation in Raqqa or any spot in the region that threaten our security, we will give the necessary response,” he added.
The U.S. on May 30 said it has begun transferring small arms, ammunition and vehicles to the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which controls YPG. Pentagon spokesman Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway confirmed the shipments to “Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF].”
“These weapons could be used against all of humanity, not just Turkey,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu warned in response.