10 Oct 2014

US wants access to Turkish air base

9:01 pm on 10 October 2014

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel says America is hoping to get access to an air base in Turkey to help in the fight against Islamic State.

Turkey is coming under increasing pressure to help Kurdish and US-led forces fighting the extremists on the Syrian-Turkish border.

Smoke rises after an air strike on Kobane, which has seen Islamic State fighters' control of the Syrian town severely dented.

Smoke rises after an air strike on Kobane, which has seen Islamic State fighters' control of the Syrian town severely dented. Photo: AFP

The US and Turkey have long been at odds over how to deal with Islamic State militants, the BBC reports.

Washington now says it wants Ankara to provide access to air bases near Syria; earlier the Americans had been urging Turkey to take a more active role in the campaign, but the country has shown little willingness to become involved in any ground action.

Instead, it has urged the creation of a safe zone on its border with Syria, but Mr Hagel said this wasn't being actively considered.

The Americans have, meanwhile, continued their air strikes against IS militants besieging the Syrian town of Kobane. Reports say IS fighters have been pushed back by the town's Kurdish defenders and coalition air strikes.

American defence officials said have carried out nine more air strikes, damaging IS positions and destroying buildings they have taken over.

A senior official in Kobane, Idriss Nassan, said extremists who were in control of about a third of the city yesterday now hold only a few houses.

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