Weather Forecast


Turkey steps up aid to northern Iraq; not involved in U.S. strikes


ANKARA - Turkey is stepping up humanitarian aid to northern Iraq, officials said on Friday, adding that a U.S. air base on its soil had not been used in the U.S. air strikes against Islamic State fighters in Iraq.

Turkey has a 370-km (230-mile) border with northern Iraq and is alarmed by the advance of Sunni militants towards Arbil, capital of the Iraqi Kurdish region which has acted as a buffer for Turkey against instability further south.

"Five trucks carrying aid to Iraq have hit the road today and they will go through the Habur border crossing on Sunday," one of the senior officials told Reuters, adding that they were carrying food, medicine, blankets and other basic goods.

U.S. warplanes on Friday struck a mobile artillery piece used by Islamic State fighters to shell Kurdish forces defending Arbil. The United States has a major air base at Incirlik in southern Turkey.

"The Incirlik base has not been used in the U.S. air strikes," the Turkish official said.