World reacts to Daesh leader Al-Baghdadi’s death

Syrians walk past a damaged van at the site of helicopter gunfire which reportedly killed nine people near the north-western Syrian village of Barisha in Idlib province. (AFP)
Updated 28 October 2019

World reacts to Daesh leader Al-Baghdadi’s death

  • France congratulates US on the operation
  • UK warns that fight against Daesh is not over

President Donald Trump announced on Sunday that fugitive Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi had died in a raid by US special forces in northwest Syria, in a major blow to the jihadist group.
Al-Baghdadi killed himself during the raid by detonating a suicide vest, Trump said in a televised address from the White House.
Here are reactions to the announcement:

BAHRAIN

Bahrain foreign minister on Twitter:

"The killing of the criminal Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is a fatal blow to Daesh. We salute our brothers and allies for their efforts and success in finding him and getting rid of him. 


FRANCE
French Defense Minister Florence Parly on Twitter:
“Baghdadi: early retirement for a terrorist, but not for his organization. I congratulate our American allies with this operation. My thoughts thoughts today are for all the victims of the madness of Bagdhadi and the criminals who have followed him.”

BRITAIN
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Twitter:
“The death of Baghdadi is an important moment in our fight against terror but the battle against the evil of Daesh is not yet over. We will work with our coalition partners to bring an end to the murderous, barbaric activities of Daesh once and for all.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, on Twitter:
“Following the death of Daesh’s leader, we must not allow Daesh to glorify someone who actioned such inhumane & abhorrent criminal acts. The UK will continue to support efforts to #DefeatDaesh.”

ISRAEL
Statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
“I would like to congratulate President Trump on the impressive achievement that led to the assassination of the head of (Daesh) Al-Baghdadi. This reflects our shared determination, of the United States of America and of all free countries, to fight terror organizations and terrorist states. This achievement is an important milestone, but the campaign is still ahead of us.”

TURKEY
Senior aide to President Tayyip Erdogan, Fahrettin Altun, in statement to Reuters:
“Turkey was proud to help the United States, our NATO ally, bring a notorious terrorist to justice ... We remember today Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s civilian victims and our military heroes, who lost their lives to protect the world from Daesh terrorists.
“Turkey, which has been a bulwark against terrorism, will continue to work closely with the United States and others to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. It is time to join forces and defeat all terrorist groups operating in the region without further delay.”


Hundreds of employees fired from Turkey’s Incirlik air base

Updated 25 January 2020

Hundreds of employees fired from Turkey’s Incirlik air base

  • Incirlik Air Base is located in Turkey’s Adana province, near the Syrian border, and it has been a strategic element in ties between Ankara and Washington
  • It has also played a key role for the US-led Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) against Daesh in Syria and Iraq in the past

ANKARA: More than 420 people working at a crucial military air base in southern Turkey have lost their jobs, with some analysts considering it symbolic of decreased cooperation levels with the US and as the Pentagon reconsiders Middle East deployments.
Incirlik Air Base is located in Turkey’s Adana province, near the Syrian border, and it has been a strategic element in ties between Ankara and Washington. It has also played a key role for the US-led Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) against Daesh in Syria and Iraq in the past, as well as hosting US nuclear warheads.
The Colorado-based company Vectrus System Corporation, which provides day-to-day maintenance and operation services at the base, terminated the contracts of almost half of its employees at the base earlier this month.
“The base surged to support OIR,” Aaron Stein, director of the Middle East program at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, told Arab News. “The Turkey-based staff for OIR has mostly left. So, the base is going back to its pre-OIR level of people, and that level requires less contractor support.”
Vectrus did not reply to Arab News’ request for comment about its decision to scale back at the base.
Joe Macaron, a resident fellow at the Arab Center in Washington, said the move was largely symbolic as the canceled contracts related to logistical support rather than the US military mission.
“But obviously, it comes against the background of some tensions in the US-Turkish relationship and previous hints by Ankara that it might reconsider the status of the Incirlik base,” he told Arab News. “The Pentagon is reconsidering its deployment across the Middle East and it might be looking to become less dependent on Incirlik without fully exiting this crucial military air base.”
Incirlik air base has been used in the past as a bargaining chip at times of tension between the two countries.
“Turkey may re-evaluate the status of the Incirlik Air Base if the US imposes sanctions,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said last month in an interview with pro-government channel A-Haber, referring to the potential fallout from Turkey’s decision to buy an air defense system from Russia. 
Washington has threatened to use its Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act to punish Ankara for buying the S-400 system.
Seth J. Frantzman, who is executive director of the Middle East Center for Reporting and Analysis, said reports of the US reducing presence at Incirlik, or challenges to the US presence there, have been growing over the last years.
“Whether these reports relate to changes or are just random is unclear and it is important to note that the large interests of the military and history tend to mean the US does not simply walk away from bases, even if it reduces its role slowly over time,” he told Arab News.
The US has invested heavily in the Jordanian Muwaffaq Salti Air Base to expand its presence there.