Six U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons from Aviano Air Base, Italy, are seen at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, after being deployed, in this U.S. Air Force handout picture taken August 9, 2015. (Reuters)
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The United States has deployed half a dozen F-16 warplanes at a Turkish base to help operations against the Islamic State (IS/ISIS) group, the U.S. mission to NATO said on Sunday.
“Six US Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons deploy to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, to support the fight against ISIL,” it said in a tweet, referring to a variant name for the jihadist group.
The United States has already been using drones from Incirlik to strike IS targets in Syria, supporting the Turkish air campaign against the militants.
“At approximately 0900 (GMT), the US Air Force deployed a small detachment of six F-16 Fighting Falcons, support equipment and approximately 300 personnel to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve,” U.S. European Command said in a press release.
“The detachment is from the 31st Fighter Wing based at Aviano Air Base, Italy. This follows Turkey’s decision to host the deployment of U.S. aircraft conducting counter-ISIS operations.”
Turkey, a member of the international coalition led by its NATO ally Washington, stepped up action against jihadists after a deadly bombing in July in a border town.
According to media reports some 30 U.S. fighters are due to arrive in the coming days to take part in the operation.