Turkey joins air strikes against ISIS in Syria

US announces Turkish fighter jets have carried out their first air strikes as part of US-led coalition against ISIS in Syria

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish warplanes have for the first time bombed ISIS positions in Syria

The United States and Turkey for the first time in a joint operation conducted 20 air strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the Combined Joint Task Force said in a statement on Sunday.

The jets began attacking ISIS targets that were deemed to be threats to Turkey late on Friday across Turkey's border with Syria.

The seven attacks in Syria included one on three fighting positions near Al Hawl, a strike on an ISIS facility near Ar Raqqah, and four strikes near Kobani on two tactical units, three excavators, five motorcycles, three structures, two guard shacks, two excavators and a vehicle.

In Iraq, 13 strikes hit a large tactical unit, a heavy machine gun position, seven buildings, two heavy machine guns and a weapons cache near Bayji and the other strikes hit targets near Habbaniyah, Kisik, Ramadi, Sinjar and Tuz in Iraq.

After months of hesitance, Turkey agreed last month to take on a more active role in the fight against ISIS.

Turkish jets used smart bombs to attack ISIS positions in Syria, without crossing into Syrian airspace, and later Turkey granted US jets access to a key air base close to the Syrian border.

The Turkish attacks which began on Friday were the first launched as part of the US-led campaign and came after Turkish and US officials announced they had reached a technical agreement concerning cooperation, which calls for Turkey to be fully integrated into the coalition air campaign.

"Our fighter aircraft together with warplanes belonging to the coalition began as of yesterday evening to jointly carry out air operations against Daesh [ISIS] targets that constitute a threat against the security of our country," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

"The fight against the terrorist organisation is a priority for Turkey," the statement added.

TRTWorld and agencies