US drones had previously executed a single lethal airstrike in Syria but this was the first time manned US fighter jets had carried out raids after taking off from Turkey’s strategically located Incirlik base. Its use would enable the U.S. -led coalition to conduct better surveillance over Syria and act quicker on intelligence than when it was limited to launching flights from places like Iraq, Jordan and the Gulf states.
Turkey, a member of the worldwide coalition led by its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Washington, had so far declined to take robust action against militants but after the July 20 deadly bombing in a border town blamed on suspected IS, it launched limited strikes against the group in Syria.
Yet U.S. military leaders want to avoid a direct clash with Assad if possible in part because Assad’s air force retains a formidable air defense system that could threaten the U.S. aircraft flying daily intelligence and strike sorties over Syria.
The statement suggested the ultraconservative Ahrar al-Sham was looking to become a key player on the ground that could work with the United States and Turkey to carve out such an IS-free zone.
The White House, Pentagon and State Department this week restated the U.S. commitment to defend them, including with airstrikes.
Mr Toner said he had not seen the Turkish official’s remarks and could not address them.
The arrival of the fighter jets in Turkey along with support equipment and around 300 personnel were confirmed by the U.S. European Command.
Turkmen fighters getting into Syria is a big new improvement within the warfare towards ISIS, as a result of it exhibits that the U.S. and Turkey are going to depend on them, as an alternative of different average Syrian rebels, to make sure the militant group doesn’t re-enter the world.
Mr Davutoglu denied that Turkey was at war with the Kurds, arguing instead that the country was retaliating against a terrorist group.
Turkey has been active in the fight against the Islamic State, launching airstrikes at the group last month.
The U.S. and Turkey have reportedly been seeking agreement on a plan to clear Daesh from a section along the northern Syrian border that the militants continue to hold despite setbacks to the east and west of the area. Human rights groups say the strikes have killed hundreds of civilians in the two countries.
The group did not mention the United States in its statement and only spoke about Turkey’s desire to set up an IS-free zone in northern Syria.
Proximity to Islamic State-controlled territory puts less stress on the aircraft and gives pilots more time to stay over a target area, the official said.