Kerry says Turkey’s role in Syria won’t change

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Kurdish boy displaced from Kobane carrying a bag. in the background a Turkish border guard is seen. File photo

ARA News 

DAMASCUS  The failed coup in Turkey has created only minor delays in the military campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria and it will not diminish Turkey’s role in the fight, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday.

After talking to the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Kerry said he was assured that the continuing turmoil “will not interrupt counterterrorism efforts based in Turkey”.

Missions against the Islamic State are flown out of Incirlik Air Base near Adana. Air space was closed Saturday after the coup attempt but reopened Sunday.

According to Kerry, operations of the US-led anti-ISIS coalition would return to normal “very quickly”.

“Our commanders explained there may have been a minor delay here or there or something, but it has not affected the fundamental direction or commitment to the fight,” Kerry told the CNN. 

The attempted coup has exacerbated tensions between the United States and Turkey, a fellow NATO member. After Turkey tightened its border in response to U.S. complaints it was allowing Islamic State fighters to cross unimpeded, relations had improved. But since the coup, Kerry has publicly and in conversations with Cavusoglu urged Turkey to uphold democratic principles even as it investigates the coup plotters and detains thousands of suspects.

The Turkish government sealed off the airbase, and cut the power. On Sunday, the Turkish commander of the base and several soldiers were arrested.

This raised fears that the failed military coup could hamper operations against the Islamic State (ISIS) in neighbouring Syria, while fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are besieging the last ISIS positions in the city of Manbij on border with Turkey.

Repairing by: Laila Majdalawi 

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