Reuters 13:55, August 13, 2015
Turkey does not plan to send ground forces to Syria: foreign minister

Turkey does not expect to deploy ground forces in Syria to fight Islamic State but that option should remain on the table, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday.

Long a reluctant partner in the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State, NATO member Turkey last month made a dramatic shift in policy, sending warplanes to attack the Islamist hardline group in northern Syria. It has also opened its air bases for use in coalition air strikes.

However, it has not launched ground operations in Syria.

"Right now, no ground operation is envisaged, but in the future whatever is needed to fight Islamic State - including ground operations - should be done. This is my personal opinion," Cavusoglu told HaberTurk TV in an interview.

The United States launched its first manned air strikes against Islamic State targets from the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey on Wednesday, the U.S. military said.

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"Today Ukraine has an opportunity to obtain complete independence and become an EU member. Never more shall we have such a unique chance," David Zhvaniya said on Shuster Live TV show.

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