UPDATE - Turkey's Incirlik air base not used in Syria strikes

Turkey was given prior information about joint airstrikes, says Bekir Bozdag


By Sinan Uslu and Metin Bolat

ANKARA/ANTALYA (AA) - The Incirlik air base in southern Turkey was not used in the U.S.-led airstrikes on Assad regime targets in Syria, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Saturday.

In a series of tweets after the U.S., U.K. and France launched airstrikes on the Assad regime's alleged chemical weapons facilities in the country, Bozdag said: “Turkey was informed ahead of the attack.”

He called for a political solution in Syria, saying it was necessary to end the “arm wrestling” otherwise blood would be spilt again.

Turkey’s attitude on Syria is “clear”, he said.

“Turkey is against the Assad regime, use of chemical or conventional weapons, internal conflicts, killing of people or displacement of them as well as all terror organizations including Daesh, the PKK, KCK, PYD/YPG in Syria,” he added.

“Before the strikes, U.S. Secretary of Defense [James Mattis] and Turkish Chief of General Staff [Gen. Hulusi Akar] spoke following the order of our president and Mr. Trump,” he said.

Separately, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the U.S.-led airstrikes was against the Assad regime that uses chemical weapons.

“[The operation] should have been carried out by now,” Cavusoglu told reporters in the Mediterranean province of Antalya.

“We have to save Syria from this regime,” Cavusoglu said.

The U.S., U.K. and France jointly launched strikes targeting the Assad regime's alleged chemical weapons research center near Damascus, a chemical weapons warehouse and a command center linked to chemical weapons located west of Homs, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joseph Dunford said at a joint news conference with American Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

The White Helmets, a civil defense agency, blamed the Assad regime for an alleged chemical attack earlier this month, which it said killed 78 civilians and injured hundreds of others.

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