U.S. halts military support for Turkey’s fight in key Islamic State town

Source: Military Times

The U.S. military has halted support for Turkish ground troops pushing deeper into Islamic State-held territory in Syria, highlighting the mounting tension between NATO allies over how to defeat the extremist group.

A spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria said on Wednesday that no airstrikes or American special operations advisers are assisting the Turkish military’s operation targeting ISIS fighters in al Bab. Located 20 miles south of the Turkey-Syria border, the town serves as an important transfer point for fighters and supplies bound for Raqqa, the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital some 125 miles to the east.

“We’ve not supported the advance to al Bab thus far ,” Air Force Col. John Dorrian said. “This is a decision they’ve made to go into al Bab, but it’s not one that the coalition has provided strikes in support of.”

 

Both sides have disagreed about the battle plan for defeating the Islamic State group, however. U.S. commanders want to focus on Raqqa. Turkey is prioritizing other parts of ISIS-held northern Syria.

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