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August 9, 2015

US deploys six F-16 aircraft to Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base

The US Air Force (USAF) has deployed six F-16 Fighting Falcons multirole jet fighters and about 300 personnel to Turkey's Incirlik Air Base, in a bid to support Operation Inherent Resolve.

By Samseer M

F-16 Fighting Falcons

The US Air Force (USAF) has deployed six F-16 Fighting Falcons multirole jet fighters and 300 personnel to Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base, in a bid to support Operation Inherent Resolve.

The Pentagon has also sent support equipment to Incirlik to strengthen the fight against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants.

Reuters cited a statement from the Pentagon that read as: "The US and Turkey, as members of the 60-plus nation coalition, are committed to the fight against ISIL in the pursuit of peace and stability in the region."

The new development comes after Turkey formally agreed to open its air bases to the US and coalition aircraft to fight against ISIL.

Turkey, which is a Nato member, had shown years of reluctance in taking part in the fight against ISIL. It finally agreed to join the coalition after suspected ISIL members bombed one of its border towns in July.

The Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlüt Çavusoglu, recently said that the country will start a ‘comprehensive battle’ against Islamic State after the arrival of US aircraft and drones.

"The US and Turkey, as members of the 60-plus nation coalition, are committed to the fight against ISIL in the pursuit of peace and stability in the region."

The new partnership will see both countries delivering air cover for US-trained Syrian rebels and efforts to combat ISIL fighters from a strip of northern Syria that stretches 50 miles along the Turkish border.

Incirlik, which is one of the key Turkish air bases located outside the city of Adana, is about 90 miles from the Syrian border and ISIL strongholds in Syria.

Recently, the US military carried out a strike against ISIL-controlled northern Syria using an armed drone, marking the first of such US air strikes from a Turkish territory.

ISIL has captured a major portion of Syria and Iraq, strengthening its efforts to form an Islamic caliphate.


Image: Six F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 31st Fighter Wing accompany approximately 300 personnel and cargo deployed from Aviano Air Base, Italy. Photo: courtesy of U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Deana Heitzman.

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