US withdraws 12 F-15 jets from Turkey

17 December 2015 (Last Updated December 17th, 2015 05:39)

The US is withdrawing 12 F-15 fighter jets from its Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, within a month of their deployment in November.

F-15

The US is withdrawing 12 F-15 fighter jets from its Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, within a month of their deployment in November.

Six F-15e Strike Eagles and six air-to-air interceptor jets F-15c Eagles were deployed to Turkey to support the European country in securing its air space.

The F-15C Eagle from the 493rd Fighter Squadron will go back to its home port at RAF Lakenheath, UK.

A Russian plane was shot down by Turkey last month for allegedly straying into its air space.

Without revealing the reasons for the withdrawal of the jets, the US said that it was a routine move as the deployment was temporary. It also cited 'new commitments' towards France, Germany and the UK.

"The country has sent more than 1,000 personnel to Turkey since July and is operating around 60 aircraft."

Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis was quoted by Reuters as saying: "I wouldn't read anything into us moving these out of there as any sort of less combat capability that we have within the coalition of being able to strike in Syria."

The US will continue to operate 12 A-10 strike aircraft and drones at Incirlik base. The country has sent more than 1,000 personnel to Turkey since July and is operating around 60 aircraft.

The withdrawal comes a day after the visit of Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to the base.

The allies of the US have also been using the base for their operations against ISIS.

Germany's A310 multi-role tanker transport (MRTT) undertook its first aerial refuelling mission on Tuesday and returned to the Incirlik base.

The MRTT refuelled two fighter jets targeting Syria's ISIS.


Image: An F-15C Eagle leaving the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. US Air Force photo by Tech Sgt. Taylor Worley.