Until recently, only reconnaissance drones took off escapades from Incirlik.
“As part of our agreement with the US we have made progress regarding the opening up of our bases, particularly İncirlik”, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told state broadcaster TRT, referring to a major airbase near the southern city of Adana.
However, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem has stated in state television that the country will support efforts to combat ISIS provided that the operations are initiated in close coordination with Damascus, according to Reuters.
“We fear that the government is giving up on its people here, that they leave the people on their own like in Syria”, said Mehmet Kahraman, from Durakbasi village, which is near Syria.
“With all the vast military power the US has at its disposal, the start to the mission is nothing short of an embarrassment and if it has any hope of succeeding, it needs to show results fast”, said Charles Lister, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center and an expert on Syrian insurgent groups.
“That deepening relationship between the United States and a Syrian Kurdish group that ultimately aims at creating an autonomous region in Syria really scared Turkey“, said Henri Barkey, director of the Middle East programme at the Woodrow Wilson worldwide Centre for Scholars.
The recent capture of a handful of U.S.-trained Syrian fighters shortly after entering Syria may make it even harder to recruit reluctant volunteers for a new ground force to combat the Islamic State. Notably, Turkish troops are not preparing for offensive movement; they are holding their ground as political and military leaders try to plan future operations involving Syrian rebels, U.S. and/or Turkish air support and additional diplomatic maneuvering.
Meanwhile, Jabhat al-Nusra said in a statement that American-backed rebels called in airstrikes for the first time after the attack on Division 30 that killed some of its men and forced it to retreat for a while.
This stealth was castigated by Council of Foreign Relations analyst Micah Zenko, in an August 3 blog posting shortly after the news first broke that Obama had decided to authorize air strikes to defend the U.S.-trained rebels from any and all attackers including, should that situation arise, Assad’s forces. Ankara wants the Kurdish guerrillas to advance no further than the Euphrates River, on the eastern fringe of the planned “safe zone”.
Turkish warplanes have also conducted attacks against targets of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq.
Ankara is now planning a mini-coalition including regional countries Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies Britain and France as well as the United States to fight against IS, which it designated a terror group in 2013. This was a big step against the Islamic State (IS) and other militant groups, allowing the coalition to hit targets more intensively. “It has to be eliminated”.
US officials say in perhaps two-three weeks, air campaigns against ISIL will intensify.