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US begins manned airstrikes from Turkey

Posted at 4:01 PM, Aug 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-12 16:01:55-04

For the first time, the United States launched manned airstrikes from a base in Turkey against ISIS forces in Syria, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

The attacks from Incirlik Air Base are part of an agreement reached last month between NATO allies Turkey and the United States.

The United States has long wanted to use Turkish bases for manned airstrikes against ISIS in Syria and parts of Iraq, but permission was granted only recently. The new access should shorten flight times compared with flights from bases in Iraq or aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan finalized a deal in July allowing the expanded access.

Shortly after the deal was announced, Turkey, which to that point had done relatively little to fight ISIS, launched its own airstrikes against the terror group in Syria, and also against Kurdish separatist camps in Iraq.

Though Wednesday marked the first manned U.S. airstrikes under the deal, lethal U.S. drone strikes into Syria from southern Turkey began earlier this month.