Tags: Barack Obama | ISIS/Islamic State | Syria | US | United | States | Turkey

US Gets OK to Launch Airstrikes Against ISIS From Turkish Base

US Gets OK to Launch Airstrikes Against ISIS From Turkish Base
(REUTERS/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian Stephens/U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters)

By    |   Thursday, 23 July 2015 04:34 PM

Turkey has agreed to allow the United States to launch airstrikes on the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) from a strategically located base just 250 miles from the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, Syria.

According to a Defense One report,  the agreement will allow U.S. and coalition warplanes to launch ISIS-related missions from Incirlik Air Force Base, which is much closer than other starting points that have forced jets to fly as many as 1,200 miles to strike ISIS targets.

Several foreign news outlets, including ARA News, reported that the deal was struck earlier this month.

On Thursday, reports Defense One, Department of Defense spokesperson Laura Seal addressed the report.

"The United States and Turkey have held ongoing consultations about ways we can further our joint counter-ISIL efforts," Seal said. "We have decided to further deepen our cooperation in the fight against ISIL, our common efforts to promote security and stability in Iraq, and our work to bring about a political settlement to the conflict in Syria. Due to operational security, I don't have further details to share at this time."

White House spokesman Josh Earnest wouldn't confirm the report, saying, "I'm not able to talk about some of those issues because of specific operational security concerns."

Two Obama administration officials, however, confirmed the news to The Associated Press.

The U.S. has been seeking permission for months for the U.S.-led coalition to use Incirlik as a launching pad. Turkey had been resistant to the idea amid domestic opposition. But in recent days, Turkey has been hit by a surge of violence blamed on ISIS-linked militants.

U.S. planes have had access to the base for decades, but Turkey had not given the Americans permission to attack ISIS targets from the base until this new agreement.

The Wall Street Journal reports that President Barack Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke Wednesday to discuss the agreement.

Turkey shares roughly half of its southern border with Syria, much of which is controlled by ISIS. Turkey is also blaming ISIS in a suicide bombing that killed 32 people in the border town of Suruc earlier this week.

Further, ISIS fighters have been along the Turkish border for months.

"This is a threat at their doorstep," a senior U.S. defense official told the Journal. "In the end, it's in their self-interest to let us use the base to strike ISIL."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Turkey has agreed to let the United States launch airstrikes against the Islamic State group (ISIS) from the strategic Incirlik Air Base.That's according to two Obama administration officials who weren't authorized to comment publicly and requested anonymity.The U.S. has...
US, United, States, Turkey, Islamic, State, airstrikes, border
Thursday, 23 July 2015 04:34 PM
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