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US to establish new base near Erbil’

11 February 2015 10:10

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The United States is to establish a military base in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan to purportedly provide logistical assistance to warplanes of the US-led coalition against ISIL terrorists, says a report citing officials in the region.

Helgurt Hikmet, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Peshmerga, made the announcement to Turkey’s official Anadolu Agency on Monday.

Hikmet said US military personnel and warplanes would be deployed to the base after the completion of construction works.

“The base is close to Erbil, the capital of the regional government,” Hikmet said. “The warplanes will do surveillance, but the warplanes which will bomb ISIL targets will not take off from here.”

The Kurdish official did not elaborate on the details but said the countries involved in the US-led coalition could all use the base.

US warplanes have been conducting airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq since early August. Some Western states have also participated in some of the strikes.

Since September 23, the US and some of its Arab allies — Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates — have been conducting airstrikes against ISIL inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.

There is skepticism in the two crisis-hit countries over Washington’s true intent by carrying out the strikes.

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