US halts request for bigger Turkish air role over Russia tensions

December 5, 2015 04:16

WASHINGTON - Since Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet last week, the United States has quietly put on hold a long-standing request for its NATO ally to play a more active role in the US-led air war against Islamic State.

The move, disclosed to Reuters by a US official, is aimed at allowing just enough time for heightened Turkey-Russia tensions to ease. Turkey has not flown any coalition air missions in Syria against Islamic State since the November 24 incident, two US officials said.

The pause is the latest complication over Turkey's role to have tested the patience of US war planners, who want a more assertive Turkish contribution -- particularly in securing a section of border with Syria that is seen as a crucial supply route for Islamic State.

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