Jan 19 2018

Turkey may block U.S. use of airbases over Syria – columnist

Turkey may withdraw permission for the United States to use two airbases in the country for flights into Syria, columnist Abdulkadir Selvi told CNN television late on Thursday.

The government in Ankara has already warned the United States privately that it may block access, though it has yet to raise the matter on an official level, said Selvi, who writes for Hürriyet, one of Turkey's best-selling newspapers.

The two bases at Incirlik in southern Turkey and Kürecik, to Incirlik's northeast, are important to U.S. and coalition operations in Syria, cutting flight times considerably and allowing aircraft to remain in the air for longer periods.

The United States also uses the facilities in Turkey as a transport hub to carry supplies to Syria’s Kurds in support of operations against Islamic State (ISIS). Turkey has vehemently opposed continued U.S. military support for the Kurdish militants after Raqqa was taken from ISIS, saying the fighters are a wing of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), recognised as terrorists by the United States and European Union.

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