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Turkish Parliament OKs Fight Against Islamic State Militants

By a large margin on Thursday, Turkish lawmakers approved military action against Islamic State militants.

Until now, Turkey, a member of NATO, had remained out of a broad coalition waging a war against radical Sunni militants in Iraq and Syria.

The BBC reports:

"The motion was passed with 298 MPs in favour and 98 against.

"Turkey had been unwilling to fight IS militants because they were holding 46 Turkish hostages - but they were released last month.

"Turkey is also wary of retaliation by IS and fears helping the Kurds who are fighting the militants."

As The Wall Street Journal reports, this vote comes as Islamic State fighters were pushing closer to the Turkish border, pushing a huge number of refugees into Turkey.

The Journal says Turkey isn't expected to send ground troops or start bombing any time soon, because Ankara is waiting to secure an "agreement of a U.S.-backed no-fly zone in northern Syria."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.