The US Department of Defense (DoD) has sent the first six of 12 US Air Force (USAF) F-15C Eagle jet fighters to Turkey in order to conduct combat air patrols in Turkish airspace.
According to Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook, the aircraft deployed to Incirlik Air Base at the request of the Turkish Government to secure the sovereignty of its airspace.
Cook said: "(The US action reflects) both our commitment to ensure the safety of our NATO ally and our commitment to degrade and ultimately defeat the (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) in Iraq and Syria.
"We commend Turkey’s decision to open these (airspaces) to us and other coalition members participating in air operations against ISIL and Turkey’s participation in coalition counter-ISIL air operations."
The USAF will also deploy F-15E Strike Eagle jets to Incirlik to support counter-ISIL operations. The number of aircraft and date of arrival are yet to be determined, Cook stated.
Currently, the US presence in Turkey includes US personnel recovery assets and manned and remotely piloted aircraft that are already conducting counter-ISIL missions from Incirlik.
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The US started deploying aircraft and crew in Turkey after the country agreed to join the US-led coalition in August.
In October, the USAF deployed A-10 Thunderbolt ground attack aircraft to Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base, in a bid to support Operation Inherent Resolve.
The A-10 fleet, also known as the Warthog, was aimed to replace the six F-16s that have been involved in the fight against the (ISIL) since August.
Image: Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook conducts a news conference at the Pentagon. Photo: courtesy of DoD photo by Army Sgt. First Class Clydell Kinchen.