Turkey Opens Air Bases to US Campaign Against ISIL

Reuters28.07.2015 MENA
Turkey Opens Air Bases to US Campaign Against ISIL

Turkey Opens Air Bases to US Campaign Against ISIL

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Turkey has given the green light for US and coalition aircraft to use its domestic air bases in the campaign against the Islamic State (ISIL) jihadist group, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Friday.

“The Council of Ministers has granted clearance for the deployment of manned and unmanned aircraft from the US and other Coalition members participating in air operations against ISIL,” the Ministry said in a statement.

A US-led coalition of 60 nations, which includes Turkey, has conducted airstrikes over ISIL-controlled territory in Iraq since last September. The United States and its Gulf partners, including Saudi Arabia, have conducted near daily air raids on ISIL targets in Syria.

“Naturally, elements of the Turkish Air Force will also be tasked with the same objective in these operations,” the ministry continued, citing a legislative mandate dated October 2, 2014.

According to the government of Turkey's official report, its first strikes on Friday targeted three ISIL positions in Syria by using laser-guided missiles.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said earlier Ankara needs no permission to conduct anti-terror operations and protect Turkish state borders.

Turkey has a 550-mile border with Syria, where ISIL has seized large areas over the past three years. The country has seen a spike in violent attacks this week, including the death of a non-commissioned officer in a border fire exchange and a suicide bombing in Suruc that killed 32 and injured 100 more. Photo: Reuters/U.S. Air Force

Turkish F-16 Falcon combat jets are carrying out a second wave of airstrikes on Friday against positions of Islamic State militants in Syria, the NTV television reported citing military sources.

Meanwhile, three Turkish F-16 jets destroyed three Islamic State targets in Syria on Friday, using laser-guided bombs, according to an official statement by the Turkish government.

Furthermore, Turkey and the United States agreed to provide air cover for “moderate” Syrian rebels fighting Islamist militants, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said late Sunday after Turkish warplanes took off for a new wave of air raids on bases of the rebel Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq.

Davutoglu also said Turkey does not intend to send ground troops to Syria.

Source: Reuters; File Photo



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