US launches ‘armed ISR missions’ from Turkey’s Incirlik base

US starts ‘armed ISR missions’ from Turkey’s Incirlik air base against ISIS targets in Syria

The United States launched armed intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance (ISR) missions using Turkey’s Incirlik airbase to strike ISIS targets, Brett McGurk, Deputy Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, posted on his personal Twitter account early on Tuesday.

McGurk told that this was “just a start,” signaling more mission from the base will continue in the future.

US Department of Defence announced on August 3 the coalition airstrikes hit ISIS targets in Hasakah, Raqqa and Kobani in Syria, without specifying from where the coalition planes took off.

The US and Turkey announced earlier last week their intention to provide a safe zone for Syrian rebels and jointly fight ISIS militants, with US warplanes using bases in Turkey, mainly the Incirlik Air Base, to launch air strikes against the group.

US President Barack Obama authorised the use of air power to defend the US-backed group of fighters called the New Syrian Force if it is attacked by the Syrian regime or other groups, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on August 2.

Last week, local sources reported that a group of 20 fighters, known as “Division 30,” including opposition fighters jointly trained by the US and Turkey were sent to region, and disarmed and captured by the Al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate the Nusra Front.

At the end of July, US officials said Turkey reached a comprehensive agreement with the US government to allow its Incirlik NATO base located 100 km (60 miles) from northwest Syrian border and Turkish airfield to be used by the US-led coalition air forces for airstrikes against ISIS in order to execute a joint action plan for northern Syrian issues.

Incirlik air base is located in the Turkish southern province of Adana and it has been used by US and NATO forces for various conflicts since 1958.  

Turkey has also stepped up efforts against militant groups such as ISIS and the outlawed PKK following increasing violent attacks after a suicide bombing on July 20 allegedly carried out by ISIS which killed 32 people in the Suruc district of the southeastern Sanliurfa province.

Turkey conducted several airstrikes on ISIS targets in northern Syria since a Turkish officer, Yalcin Nane, was killed in border province of Kilis as a result of fire opened by ISIS militants in Syria.

TRTWorld and agencies