Turkey has declined the US military’s offer to provide air support for its troops in Syria, asking Russia to take on the role instead, American officials say.
Two US military officials said that Ankara, which has been fighting militants inside the Syrian territories, has accepted air power from Moscow over the past few days, the NBC News reported Wednesday.
This is while, the Turks have turned down the US-led coalition’s help, the officials claimed.
Back in August, Turkey launched an incursion into Syria, claiming that the military operation was meant to engage both Daesh terrorists in the Syrian-Turkish border area and Kurdish forces, who were themselves fighting Daesh.
Damascus has on multiple occasions condemned Ankara’s intervention as a breach of its sovereignty.
In December, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stressed that the US had failed to keep its promise of air support in Ankara’s operations in the Arab country, mainly in the city of al-Bab, which has proven a tough battle for the Turks.
“Even though the US-led coalition has failed to keep its promises [pledging air support] in our operation to liberate al-Bab, we will rid the city of Daesh terrorists, no matter what,” Erdogan said back then.
The complaints continued on Wednesday, with Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik saying that he lack of US air support was fueling negative public sentiments over Washington’s use of Turkey’s Incirlik airbase.
This is while the American military forces have conducted flights over the city as a show of force without dropping any bombs.
According to NBC, when one of the military officials was asked whether Russia was pounding Daesh in the city, he said “for now they are.”
Al-Bab sits between Aleppo and Manbij, the city that was liberated last year with help from the US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Turkey is said to be among the main supporters of militant groups in Syria and stands accused of training and arming Takfiri elements, facilitating their passage into the violence-wracked country, and buying smuggled oil from militants.
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