Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on Tuesday that the Syrian border town of Kobane is on the verge of falling to jihadists, saying a ground operation was needed to defeat the militants.
“The terror will not be over… unless we cooperate for a ground operation,” Erdogan said in a televised speech in the eastern city of Gaziantep.
He added that air strikes being carried out by a US-led coalition to help Kurdish fighters battling Islamic State (IS) jihadists were not enough on their own.
“Months have passed but no results have been achieved. Kobane is about to fall,” he told an audience mainly composed of Syrian refugees in the city’s Islahiye camp.
“I am telling the West — dropping bombs from the air will not provide a solution,” Erdogan said to cheers from the crowds.
The Turkish parliament last week week authorised the government to take military action against IS extremists, but so far no plans to carry out military operations have been announced.
“We are following the attacks on Kobane and other towns where our Kurdish brothers live with great concern,” Erdogan said.
He added that the number of refugees in Turkey from the Kobane region had now risen to 200,000.
“We just want peace in this region,” he said. “Turkey is on guard and well-equiped for any threats directed against itself,” he added.
Erdogan again called for a no-fly zone above Syria and a safe zone to host refugees, and said moderate rebel groups fighting against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad should be trained and equipped to defeat IS.