October 28, 2019 / 10:46 AM / 22 days ago

Turkey says shared information with U.S. before Baghdadi operation

FILE PHOTO: Iraqi youth watch the news of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi death, in Najaf, Iraq October 27, 2019. REUTERS/Alaa al-Marjani/File Photo

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey and the U.S. were engaged in intense diplomacy and exchanged views on the operation the night that U.S. special forces conducted a mission to kill Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in northwest Syria, Ankara’s foreign minister said on Monday.

“Turkey and our U.S. counterparts shared information, exchanged opinions before the operation to kill Daesh leader started. That’s why Trump thanked Turkey in his speech,” the minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, told a news conference.

Cavusoglu said Turkey had “neutralized” more than 4,000 Islamic State militants so far.

Earlier on Monday, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin also stressed the close contact between the two country’s military authorities on the night.

“A terrorist organization nesting in Syria, near our border, or any other region, is not something we can accept,” Turkey’s presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told reporters.

Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Writing by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Jon Boyle, William Maclean

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