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MIDEAST >Saudi warplanes arrive at Turkey’s İncirlik for ISIL fight

Uğur Ergan – ANKARA

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Saudi warplanes arrived at the İncirlik Air Base in the southern province of Adana on Feb. 26 to help support the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), bringing the number of countries which have aircraft at the base as part of the ISIL fight to five.

Four F-15E Strike Eagle jets landed at the base one after another at around 1:30 p.m. in support of the U.S.-led coalition. 

The F-15E jets resemble Russian SU-30 type aircraft that are currently deployed in Syria. 

It has also been reported that Saudi warplanes would conduct patrol flights along the Turkey-Syria border in addition to the ISIL mission.

Speaking at a televised press conference, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s aide and spokesperson, İbrahim Kalın, said they had opened İncirlik airbase in southern Turkey to the members of the anti-ISIL coalition in order to support combat activities, adding that Saudi Arabian aircraft had begun to reach the country. 

“As part of this combat, Saudi Arabian aircraft started to arrive at İncirlik air base as of yesterday [Feb. 25] to strike Daesh [ISIL] targets by taking off from İncirlik air base and the rest will finalize in a few days,” said Kalın on Feb. 26. 

“This is one of the bold statements of our support to the international coalition in combatting Daesh and its presence there,” he added. 

Advance guards arrived at the base on Feb. 25.

Speaking at a televised press conference, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s aide and spokesperson, İbrahim Kalın, said they had opened İncirlik airbase in southern Turkey to the members of the anti-ISIL coalition in order to support combat activities, adding that Saudi Arabian aircraft had begun to reach the country. 

“As part of this combat, Saudi Arabian aircraft started to arrive at İncirlik air base as of yesterday [Feb. 25] to strike Daesh [ISIL] targets by taking off from İncirlik air base and the rest will finalize in a few days,” said Kalın on Feb. 26. 

“This is one of the bold statements of our support to the international coalition in combatting Daesh and its presence there,” he added. 

Saudi Defense Ministry Undersecretary Ahmed al-Asiri confirmed the landing, state-run Anadolu Agency reported. 

Al-Asiri said Saudi Arabia and Turkey would not act alone but as part of a wider coalition against the terrorist group.        

The Saudi government said earlier this month that it was willing to contribute to the fight against ISIL with troops on the ground, under the umbrella of the U.S.-led coalition.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also said on Feb. 25 that the aircraft were expected to arrive at the base soon.

“Now, entries have been made for supplies and personnel. Inspections have been made. The aircraft are expected to come soon,” Çavuşoğlu said.

Saudi Defense Ministry Undersecretary Ahmed al-Asiri confirmed the landing, state-run Anadolu Agency reported. 

Al-Asiri said Saudi Arabia and Turkey would not act alone but as part of a wider coalition against the terrorist group.        

The Saudi government said earlier this month that it was willing to contribute to the fight against ISIL with troops on the ground, under the umbrella of the U.S.-led coalition.

Saudi Arabia, together with Israel, is the country with the second most F-15 fighter jets in the world, after the U.S. 

The other four countries that have aircraft at the base are Britain, the U.S., Germany and Qatar.



February/26/2016

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