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Turkish PM rejects Kobane criticism

Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has rejected claims that it is not doing enough to help Syrian fighters defeat Islamic State (IS) in Kobane.

He told the BBC it would only take part in operations if the US-led coalition’s strategy included military action against Syrian government forces.

Western and Arab air strikes are only targeting jihadists in Syria and Iraq.

Turkey would meanwhile “accelerate” the training and equipping of Syrian rebels to fight in Kobane, Mr Davutoglu said.

But he emphasised that negotiations with allies over access to Turkey’s military bases for refuelling and air strikes would not succeed until “the parameters are clear”.

“Saving Kobane is very important but we should not forget that Kobane is just a result of a much bigger, much more widespread crisis in Syria,” said Mr Davutoglu, the former foreign minister who has been a key architect of Turkey’s Syria policy and a bitter opponent of President Bashar al-Assad.

Western leaders insist that the only target in their new air campaign is Islamic State, which now controls large swathes of territory in both Syria and Iraq.

Mr Davutoglu lashed out against Turkey’s critics, saying it “did not want to be part of the game for a few weeks or months just to satisfy American or European public opinion”.

 

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