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US Deploys Six F-16 Jets to Turkey as Part of Anti-ISIL Campaign

Sputnik News

17:18 09.08.2015(updated 17:43 09.08.2015)

The US Air Force is deploying six of its F-16 fighter jets to the southern Turkish base of Incirlik for its ongoing campaign against the Islamic State jihadist group, the US Mission to NATO announced Sunday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Stars and Stripes publication reported earlier that half a dozen F-16s and approximately 300 airmen from the 31st Fighter Wing had departed from the Aviano Air Base in Italy en route to Incirlik.

'Six US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons deploy to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, to support the fight against ISIL,' the mission said on its Twitter account.

Earlier this day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the intention of the US to provide air support to Syrian opposition forces could lead to 'certain mistakes' that would undermine the situation in the region.

On July 24, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the country was ready to make its domestic air bases available to US and coalition aircraft participating in the anti-ISIL operation.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday Ankara and Washington were preparing for a large-scale campaign against the Sunni militant group that had captured vast parts of Syria and Iraq over the past year.

Washington has long asked Ankara for the use of the Incirlik air base to launch air raids against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. The US Air Force previously used the facility for logistical and humanitarian purposes.

As the security situation in Turkey has deteriorated in the past month, the country responded with a military campaign against Islamic State jihadists in Syria. The military operation followed an allegedly ISIL-organized suicide bombing in the city of Suruc on July 20, which killed 32 people.


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