Turkey, US-led coalition hit ISIS targets in Syria

Turkish and US jets launched joint air strikes against ISIS in Syria, Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The statement from Turkish Foreign Ministry read that US and Turkish air forces have been hitting ISIS targets in Syria and that the operation began on Friday night.

The statement said the air strikes were carried out within the framework of the agreement signed on Aug. 24 between the US and Turkey.


“In this framework, our fighter jets have been operating against ISIS which has been a national security threat for our country, in a joint action plan since Friday night with the coalition forces,” the statement said.

Media also reported on Saturday that two Turkish jets along with coalition forces hit four different ISIS targets north of Aleppo in Syria.

The air strikes which Turkey takes part came after the media reports on Aug. 27 that said ISIS had captured strategic villages from Syrian opposition near Turkish border where Turkey and the US-led coalition forces are aiming to establish an ISIS-free zone.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had said ISIS has taken over the several villages namely Dalhah, Harjalah, Sandef and Harbul in the area between Marea and Azaz, and “encircled” the opposition-held district of Marea.

Marea is only 20 kilometres away from Turkey’s southern border.

Turkey-US joint air strikes were signalled by a recently signed agreement for US-led forces to use Turkey’s Incirlik base and that Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook confirmed on Aug. 25 technical arrangements are being put into place so operational level could take “a few days.”

Recent reports indicated that Turkey and the US signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) determining allied military planning in order to clear ISIS forces from an area between Marea and Jarablus in northern Syria.

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces will be deployed in the areas cleared from ISIS by the allied forces according to the MOU. Syrian refugees who stay in Turkey could be settled in the the cleared areas following effective operations against the group, the media reports said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu previously said a “comprehensive battle” against ISIS will start soon after Turkey and the US have agreed to use the Incirlik base.

The base is located 100 km (60 miles) from northwest Syrian border and Turkish airfield will also be used by the US-led coalition forces for air strikes against the group in order to execute a joint action plan for northern Syrian issues.

Turkey's ongoing efforts against ISIS intensified after an ISIS suicide attack on July 20 killed 34 people in the southeastern town of Suruc. Following the attack Turkey declared it would open its Incirlik Air Base in the southern province of Adana for use by anti-ISIS coalition forces.

Pentagon officials have long been in talks with Turkey over the use of the air base, which provides much easier and cheaper access to ISIS targets in northern Syria.

Earlier this month the US began flying armed drones out of the base and less than two weeks later F-16 fighter jets flew their first manned missions from the base.

TRTWorld and agencies