US withdraws 12 fighter jets from Turkey's Incirlik Air Base

US military announces its removal of 12 fighter jets from Incirlik Air Base in Turkey

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter jet (foreground) lands at Incirlik Air Base in the southern city of Adana.

The US military on Wednesday announced that it removed 12 fighter jets from the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, which had been sent there last month for operations targeting DAESH along with supporting Turkey for security of its airspace.

“The Air Force F-15 Eagles and Strike Eagles deployed to Incirlik … are returning to RAF Lakenheath, UK, beginning Dec. 16,” said in a written statement by US European Command (EUCOM).

It also said ‘’The six F-15Cs arrived Nov. 6 and conducted training and operational missions supporting Turkish allies and their sovereign airspace. The six F-15Es followed on Nov. 12 to conduct counter-DAESH operations in Syria and Iraq as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. US Air Force A-10s, remotely piloted aircrafts and other coalition aircrafts will remain at Incirlik conducting counter-DAESH missions.’’

The Pentagon noted that the jets were sent as a part of temporary deployment within Europe.

The US deployment also came recently after NATO ally Turkey shot down a Russian warplane for violating its airspace despite several warnings.

Following the incident, while Russia stiffened its air defenses in Syria, Turkey received support from the US to help to secure its airspace with the deployment of six American F-15C warplanes.

Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said that the jets flew training missions with Turkish Air Force while he added Turkey and US reached an agreement during the period, outlining procedures for carrying out combat air patrols in the future.

The United States had described the deployment of other six F-15Es as part of an effort to strengthen air strikes against DAESH in Syria.

Davis also said that the US still had 12 A-10 strike aircrafts as well as drone aircrafts at Incirlik base.

The  statement by EUCOM added "Coalition aircrafts operating from Incirlik are expected to increase and continue to increase in the coming months."

Turkey reached a comprehensive agreement with the US government on July 23 to allow its Incirlik Air Base to be used by the US-led coalition forces for air strikes against DAESH, in order to execute a joint action plan for northern Syrian issues.

The agreement has been described as “a game changer” in the fight against DAESH at the time by US officials.

TRTWorld and agencies