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Turkey: Unilateral Ground Operation Against ISIS 'Unrealistic'

A black flag belonging to the so-called Islamic State is seen in the Syrian town of Kobani on Thursday, as seen from the Turkey-Syria border near the southeastern town of Suruc. Umit Bektas/Reuters/Landov hide caption

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Umit Bektas/Reuters/Landov

A black flag belonging to the so-called Islamic State is seen in the Syrian town of Kobani on Thursday, as seen from the Turkey-Syria border near the southeastern town of Suruc.

Umit Bektas/Reuters/Landov

Turkey's foreign minister says it is unrealistic to expect his country to unilaterally intervene in Syria to protect Kurds against the self-declared Islamic State.

"It is not realistic to expect Turkey to conduct a ground operation on its own," Mevlut Cavusoglu told a news conference in Ankara, according to the BBC.

Cavusoglu, in talks with NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg, also called for the creation of a no-fly zone over the Turkey-Syria border. But NATO has, at least for now, refused to discuss the idea of "safe havens" inside Syria, NPR's Peter Kenyon reports.

But, Cavusoglu said, once there is a common decision among the anti-ISIS coalition, "Turkey will not hold back from playing its part."

The government in Ankara has been criticized for not sending forces into help the besieged town of Kobani, just across Turkey's border with Syria. For days, militants with the so-called Islamic State have been on the cusp of seizing complete control of the town from Kurdish defenders.

Meanwhile, The Associated Press says:

"The U.S.-led coalition pounded positions of the Islamic State group in the Syrian border town of Kobani on Thursday in some of the most intensive strikes in the air campaign so far, a Kurdish official and an activist group said.

"But despite the airstrikes overnight and into the morning, the Islamic State fighters managed to capture a police station in the east of the town, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"The militants now control more than a third of the strategic border town, added the Observatory, a group that tracks Syria's civil war through a network of activists on the ground."