Turkey carries out first air strikes with US-led forces against Isis in Syria

Part of a carefully worded agreement that has seen Turkey join the US's coaltion against the Islamic extremists

Suzan Fraser
Saturday 29 August 2015 14:34
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US aircraft have been granted access to Turkish airbases near the Syrian border
US aircraft have been granted access to Turkish airbases near the Syrian border

Turkey's fighter jets have carried out their first airstrikes as part of the US-led coalition against Isis in Syria.

A Foreign Ministry statement on Saturday said the jets began attacking Isis targets late Friday across the border in Syria that were deemed to be threats to Turkey.

After months of hesitance, Turkey agreed last month to take on a more active role in the fight against the Islamic extremist group. also known as the Islamic State. Turkish jets used smart bombs to attack Isis positions in Syria, without crossing into Syrian airspace and later Turkey granted US jets access to a key air base close to the Syrian border.

The Turkish attacks that began Friday were the first launched as part of the US-led campaign and came after Turkish and US officials announced they had reached a technical agreement concerning their cooperation, which calls for Turkey to be fully integrated into the coalition air campaign.

"Our fighter aircraft together with warplanes belonging to the coalition began as of yesterday evening to jointly carry out air operations against Daesh targets that constitute a threat against the security of our country," the Foreign Ministry said, using the Arabic acronym for Isis. "The fight against the terrorist organisation is a priority for Turkey." 

The statement did not give more details on the targets.

On Thursday, Isis militants seized five villages from rebel groups in northern Syria as they advanced toward the strategic town of Marea near the Turkish border. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and other groups said Isis carried out a suicide bombing on the outskirts of Marea amid fierce fighting in the area. 

The advance was in the northern Aleppo province near where Turkey and the United States have agreed to establish an Isis-free safe zone.

Associated Press

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