08:26 GMT25 January 2021
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    Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman said that Ankara and Washington have officially signed an agreement for the use of the Incirlik air base for aerial campaigns against Islamic State.

    ANKARA (Sputnik) Ankara and Washington have officially signed an agreement for the use of the Incirlik air base in southern Turkey for aerial campaigns against Islamic State (ISIL) militants in Syria, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said Wednesday.

    "The Incirlik base agreement has been signed on our part. The base can be opened at any time. First and foremost it will be used to target the Islamic State targets in Syria," Bilgic told journalists.

    On Friday, Turkey launched a military campaign against Islamic State in Syria, after the militants claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in the border town of Suruc that killed 32 people. The campaign involves airstrikes by F-16 fighter jets and shelling from within Turkish territory.

    The Incirlik base is already being used by the US Air Force for logistical and humanitarian purposes.

    Islamic State is a religious fundamentalist group active mainly in Syria and Iraq. A US-led international coalition has been launching airstrikes against insurgent positions in both countries.

    Previously, Turkey was unwilling to actively participate in anti-IS coalition operations, refusing to join airstrikes that the US-led coalition has been conducting since September.

    In February, the United States and Turkey agreed that Washington would send more than 400 soldiers to Turkey to train the Free Syrian Army rebels who sought to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.


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