Turkish air forces fly over Syria in anti-ISIL campaign
Two Turkish F-16 fighters have made a flight over Syrian airspace as part of a multinational campaign to fight and eradicate the ISIL in the war-torn country, amid Turkish-American talks for setting up a safe zone in the eastern Euphrates.
A written statement from the Defense Ministry announced on Sept. 23 that two F-16s of the Turkish Air Forces flew over Syrian airspace for two hours between 10 a.m. and noon.
It said the flights took place under Operation Inherent Resolve, a multinational operation seeking to defeat ISIL in Syrian and Iraqi territories. The operation was formally launched by the U.S. Department of Defense in October 2014 and was later expanded with the participation of dozens of countries, both from the West and in the region. Turkey is also a part of the operation.
The fight resulted in ISIL’s loss of territories in both Syria and Iraq, but there are still concerns that the terrorist group could resurrect in the region.
Turkey had not been an active partner in the anti-ISIL fight since the United States decided to partner with the YPG in combatting jihadists in Syrian territories.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized the continued presence of the U.S. troops in the region and its partnership with the YPG as he claimed on Sept. 21 that the fight against ISIL is over.
The flight of the Turkish aircrafts comes as Turkey and the U.S. are in talks for setting up a safe zone in eastern Syria. They have conducted one ground patrol mission and six reconnaissance flights inside Syria so far. There are reports of preparations for a second combined ground patrol mission.