Turkey's Diyarbakir Base on High Alert amid Mosul Retake PledgeWorld | March 5, 2015, Thursday // 14:10| views
picture made available 04 March 2015, shows an Iraqi soldier posing with a sniper rifle at a military barracks near Tikrit, Iraq March 03, 2015. Photo by EPA/BGNES
There has been intense activity at the Air Force base in Diyarbakir, Turkey, as Ankara is considering whether to help Iraq in the fight against Islamic State, media sources say.
Aircraft are being regularly scrambled, and troops have been instructed to "react" in case of hostility from IS, according to reports.
This comes following a hint from Turkish officials that the country was willing to support a Iraqi operation to retake the city of Mosul, which fell to militants from the Islamic State (IS) group last year.
Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu made clear Wednesday Ankara might back an operation against IS in Mosul, though he made clear it "will only respond if there is a direct attack on Turkey," as H?rriyet Daily News quoted him as saying.
In his statement Davutoglu also rebuked the US-led coalition's strategy to "clean up" IS, explaining: "the fire is at our border and it is us that it burns the most."
Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz later announced that Ankara was ready to provide Iraq with logistic and intelligence support.
Meanwhile Turkish F-16 airplanes are reportedly performing reconnaissance flights along the Turkey-Iraq border, according to an Istanbul-based correspondent for the Bulgarian National Radio.
This comes against the backdrop of a visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry to Saudi Arabia where he is to meet counterparts from the anti-IS coalition to discuss the latest developments.
We need your support so Novinite.com can keep delivering news and information about Bulgaria! Thank you!