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US, Turkey finalizing details of anti-ISIL airstrikes

WASHINGTON, (AFNS) -- The U.S. and Turkey are finalizing details of Turkey’s recently announced participation in the air campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Syria, a U.S. Central Command spokesman said here Aug. 14.

Col. Pat Ryder briefed reporters at the Pentagon on continuing operations in Iraq and Syria by coalition partners supporting Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.

On Aug. 12, the Pentagon announced that the U.S. had begun flying manned counter-ISIL missions from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, and conducting airstrikes.

This followed Turkey's announcement in July that it would open its bases for U.S. and coalition members’ air operations against ISIL, as part of deeper U.S.-Turkey counter-ISIL cooperation.

“Turkey has been a welcome partner in terms of opening up Incirlik Air Base and allowing us to conduct manned and unmanned operations out of (the base),” Ryder told reporters.

“They have definitely highlighted that they are committed to participating in the counter-ISIL air operations, they have stopped doing any counter-ISIL flights until we finalize … how they will be part of the coalition air campaign,” Ryder continued.

Six U F-16 Fighting Falcons and about 300 personnel arrived at Incirlik AB Aug. 9 to support Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria, said Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis.

The detachment is from the 31st Fighter Wing based at Aviano AB, Italy, according to the statement from U.S. European Command.

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