The United States Central Command (CENTCOM) has confirmed the enlargement of an airport near the Kurdish-majority northern city of Kobani in Syria.
CENTCOM said that the airport was enlarged to support the ongoing operation to liberate Raqqa, the Islamic State stronghold 90 kilometres south of the airport.
Speaking to members of the US Congress at Andrews Airbase in the state of Maryland, General Carlton Everhart of the US Airforce said that they had enlarged the airport as “it will play an important role in transporting equipment and personnel”.
Separately, CENTCOM spokesman Colonel John Thomas told Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency that “the airport will provide the USA and the other forces fighting against Daesh [Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group] a different base from where air vehicles (in original version of this story this was wrongly translated as fighter jets) could take off from.”
Currently US Air Force jets conducting raids against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq take off from airbases in Turkey, using both the airports of Incirlik and Diyarbakir.