US deploys 6 jets, 300 personnel to Incirlik to combat ISIS

Pentagon deploys military equipment and personnel, consisting of six F-16 jet fighters and 300 servicemen, to Incirlik air base, on which Ankara and Washington agreed to use for anti-ISIS combatting

Courtesy of: US Department of Defense
Courtesy of: US Department of Defense

The United States announced on Sunday that the Pentagon has decided to dispatch six F-16 jets and about 300 military personnel to Incirlik air base in Turkey’s Adana province in order to use in anti-ISIS campaign.

The Pentagon said in a statement that the "small detachment" would be sent from the 31st Fighter Wing located at Italy’s Aviano Air Base, by adding that support equipment was already sent without giving details.

"The United States and Turkey, as members of the 60-plus nation coalition, are committed to the fight against ISIL in the pursuit of peace and stability in the region," the Pentagon statement said.

Ankara allowed Washington for the utilisation of Incirlik air base last month as the parties agreed on the US-led anti-ISIS international campaign in which Turkey pledged to take an active part in the wake militant offensive towards its southern borders.  

Last week, the US authorities declared that they launched armed intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) missions by using Incirlik air base to strike ISIS targets in Syria.

The recent developments in Syria’s northern areas on the Turkish border raised Ankara’s concerns over both the advancement of ISIS militancy and the Syrian-Kurdish People’s Defense Units’ (YPG) attempts at establishing a “Kurdish corridor” alongside the border.

Following the killing of a Turkish military serviceman due to gunfire from Syria in Turkey’s southern border town of Kilis on Aug. 24, the Turkish Armed Force (TAF) had launched several  airstrikes targeting ISIS militants positioned near the Turkish border, using its rights derived from international laws on engagement with national security threats.

Turkey has long been criticised by Western countries over the management of its porous border with Syria. Militants have in the past travelled from Europe to Turkey and then across into Iraq and Syria through Turkey’s borders, raising concern between Turkey and its allies.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has stated several times that allegations of mismanagement were unjust and were part of a “propaganda” campaign intending to paint the country as a supporter of militancy in Iraq and Syria.

Turkey has also accused EU countries of not providing it adequate information and reluctance in intelligence sharing and cooperation concerning Europeans suspected of travelling to Turkey with the aim of joining ISIS.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared this month that Turkey has so far denied entry of nearly 16,000 foreigners who were suspected of attempting to enter the country in order to travel into Syria and Iraq for joining ISIS.

TRTWorld, Reuters