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August 16, 2015

US and Turkey finalise operational plan for anti-ISIL airstrikes

The US and Turkey are in the final stages of deciding the operational plan on the latter's participation in the air campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria, a US Central Command spokesman has stated.

By Samseer M

F-16 Fighting Falcon

The US and Turkey are in the final stages of deciding the operational plan on the latter’s participation in the air campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria, a US Central Command spokesman has stated.

Turkey recently agreed to join the coalition that supports combined joint task force-operation, Inherent Resolve, after suspected ISIL members bombed one of its border towns in July.

Following this, the US carried out a strike against ISIL-controlled northern Syria using an armed drone from its Incirlik air base.

Air Force colonel Pat Ryder said: "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 the air base.

"They have definitely highlighted that they are committed to participating in the counter-ISIL air operations."

"They have definitely highlighted that they are committed to participating in the counter-ISIL air operations, they have stopped doing any counter-ISIL flights until we finalise how they will be part of the coalition air campaign."

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.

As part of this development, the US Air Force (USAF) deployed six F-16 Fighting Falcons multirole jet fighters and 300 personnel to Turkey earlier this month.

The Pentagon also sent support equipment to Incirlik to strengthen the fight against ISIL militants. The detachment was from the 31st Fighter Wing based at Aviano Air Base in Italy.


Image: An F-16 Fighting Falcon takes off from Aviano Air Base, Italy, to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey to support Operation Inherent Resolve. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Deana Heitzman.

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