Turkey may Open İncirlik Base for NATO Mission in Syria

USAF KC-135R Stratotanker at Incirlik air base (photo: Sgt. Vince Parker)

USAF KC-135R Stratotanker at Incirlik air baseTurkey may open its strategic İncirlik air base for possible military operations into neighboring Syria, if the Western defense alliance NATO decides for an intervention in the ongoing civil war, a ranking Turkish official told the Hürriyet Daily News on Aug. 26.

The official, who asked not to be named, said the reports of chemical weapons last week triggered the motivations of the international community in such a way that fewer leaders were now indifferent to what has been happening in Syria for the over two years of civil war. “According to the results of the political and military evaluations these days, it is possible that the NATO Council might convene with Syria on the agenda. If there is an intervention decision, Turkey would take part in it, which could include the opening of the İncirlik air base.”

One of the meetings that the official mentioned was the political meeting between the “Core Group” of the Friends of Syrian People and the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), representing the opposition against the Bashar al-Assad regime, which will take place in Istanbul on Aug. 26. The other meeting is a military one in Amman, Jordan, another neighbor of Syria, where defense ministers and/or the top commanders of 10 nations got together on the same day to discuss “preventing a spillover” of the civil war, and also to assess the scenarios of a possible intervention in Syria. Those 10 nations were Jordan, as the host country, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, the U.K., France, Turkey, Germany, Qatar, Italy and Canada.