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ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A Turkish official says there is no new agreement with the United States on using an air base in southern Turkey for operations against the Islamic State group.

Turkey and the United States are still talking about the Incirlik air base as well as Turkish demands for the creation of a no-fly zone and a safe haven for refugees, the government official told the Associated Press on Monday. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the issue publicly.

On Sunday, U.S. defense officials said Turkey would let U.S. and coalition forces use its bases against Islamic State militants.

On the ground, a suicide bomber from the Islamic State group detonated his vehicle Monday in the Syrian border town of Kobani amid fierce fighting with Kurdish militiamen there.

Islamic State extremists has carved out a vast stretch of territory from northern Syria to the outskirts of Baghdad and imposed a harsh version of Islamic rule. The fighters have massacred hundreds of captured Iraqi and Syrian soldiers, terrorized religious minorities, and beheaded two American journalists and two British aid workers.

In addition, hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled into Turkey from Syria recently ahead of the militants.

View gallery A Turkish soldier, part of a tank unit holding their position on a hilltop on the outskirts of Suruc

A U.S.-led coalition has been carrying out airstrikes against the militant targets in and around Kobani for more than two weeks. The town s fate has emerged as a major test of whether the air campaign can roll back the extremists in Syria.

The sound of explosions and occasional gunfire could be heard across the border from Kobani a day after Kurdish fighters managed to slow the advance of the jihadist group. What appeared to be a rocket-propelled grenade struck a minaret in the center of the town, emitting a cloud of white smoke.

Activists said Islamic State militants were carrying out a three-pronged attack from the eastern side of the town and that clashes were reported in the southern part.

The Syrian Kurdish enclave has been the scene of heavy fighting since late last month, with the better-armed Islamic State fighters determined to capture the border post.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said an Islamic State suicide bomber detonated a car filled with explosives in the northern part of Kobani near the border with Turkey on Monday. It said the car was headed to the border crossing between Kobani and Turkey.

A Kurdish activist in the town, Farhad Shami, said the vehicle appeared to have exploded prematurely. It was not immediately clear whether there were any casualties.

Shami said coalition aircraft flying over Kobani had struck 10 times Sunday and Monday.


Lucas reported from Suruc, Turkey. AP journalists Lefteris Pitarakis in Mursitpinar, Turkey, and Zeina Karam in Beirut, Lebanon contributed to this report.

Unrest, Conflicts & WarPolitics & GovernmentTurkey
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