The United States and Turkey are finalizing details of the latter’s recently announced participation in the air campaign against the terror group Islamic State (IS) in Syria, the U.S. Central Command said Friday.
“Turkey has been a welcome partner in terms of opening up Incirlik Air Base and allowing us to conduct manned and unmanned operations out of (that base),” U.S. Central Command spokesman Pat Ryder told reporters at a Pentagon briefing by phone.
“They have definitely highlighted that they are committed to participating in the counter-IS air operations, (and) they have stopped doing any counter-IS flights until we finalize … how they will be part of the coalition air campaign,” Ryder added.
Six U.S. Air Force F-16 fighter jets and about 300 personnel arrived on Aug. 9 at the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey from a base in Italy to support Operation Inherent Resolve against the IS in Iraq and Syria.
The Pentagon on Wednesday announced that the U.S. had begun flying manned counter-IS missions from Incirlik Air Base and conducting airstrikes against IS targets.
This followed Turkey’s announcement in July that it would open its bases for U.S. and coalition members’ air operations against IS, as part of deeper U.S.-Turkey counter-IS cooperation.
U.S. officials said Friday that the coalition forces continued airstrikes against IS targets in Syria and Iraq, including eight strikes in Syria and 23 strikes in Iraq that destroyed a number of IS fighting positions, vehicles and weapons. Enditem