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Turkey to explain stance on anti-IS fight to visiting US envoy

AFP , Thursday 9 Oct 2014
A black flag belonging to the Islamic State is seen in the Syrian town of Kobane, as pictured from the Turkish-Syrian border near the southeastern town of Suruc October 9, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

Turkey will explain its stance on the fight against Islamic State (IS) jihadists when a US special envoy visits Ankara on Thursday amid growing frustration over its refusal to intervene militarily, an official said.

A foreign ministry official in Ankara told AFP that Turkey would make clear its concerns and the threats the country faces to retired US general John Allen, the US special envoy for the coalition against IS.

Accompanied by the US point man on Iraq, Brett McGurk, Allen will Thursday begin two days of talks with Turkish officials to seek greater support from Washington's NATO ally in the war on IS militants who have seized swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq.

"We and our allies have some problems, but they can be resolved," the foreign ministry official in Ankara told AFP on condition of anonymity ahead of the talks.

"Turkey and US have already reached consensus on several issues, including the fight against terrorism.

"During the talks, we will convey our concerns, our opinions and what kinds of threats Turkey is facing (from IS)," the official added.

IS militants are battling Kurdish fighters for control of the mainly Kurdish Syrian town of Kobane on the Turkish border.

While US-led air strikes have helped push back the jihadists, pressure is mounting for more international action to save the town.

More than 200,000 mainly Kurdish refugees have fled to Turkey from Kobane, putting Ankara under increasing pressure to act.

The Turkish parliament last week authorised the government to take military action against IS extremists, but Turkey has so far announced no plans to carry out military operations.

Ankara is seeking a commitment from the West to move against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and implement a no-fly zone above Syria before even considering military action in the country.

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