Top soldier visits Syrian border, İncirlik Air Base
ANKARATurkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar has visited the units in the southeastern province of Gaziantep and the southern provinces of Kilis and Adana near the Syrian border in order to carry out examinations and inspections. Land Forces Commander Gen. Salih Zeki Çolak and Turkish Air Force Cmdr. Gen. Abidin Ünal accompanied Akar on his visit on Jan. 20.
Akar and the generals received information regarding the ongoing Euphrates Shield operation against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in northern Syria from the operations center in the region. They were also informed about the anti-terror operations.
The army chief then visited the İncirlik Air Base in Adana and also carried out inspections there.
This visit comes days after military leaders of 14 countries of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIL on Jan. 15 agreed to support Turkey’s ongoing Euphrates Shield operation.
“They confirmed their support for the Euphrates Shield operation to fight the Daesh terrorist organization,” said a final communique released on Jan. 15 following the Conference of Global Coalition in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Daesh is the Arabic acronym for ISIL.
Akar also attended a NATO conference for defense heads between Jan. 17-18 in Brussels.
The İncirlik Air Base became a hot topic between Turkey and the U.S. recently, due to its strategic position for the air strikes conducted as part of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIL.
Turkey began to question the use of the İncirlik Air Base by the anti-ISIL coalition forces after U.S.’ reluctance to help Turkey capture al-Bab in northern Syria as part of the Euphrates Shield operation.
Turkey and U.S. were at odds over the latter’s support for the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey sees as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).