Ankara, Aug 13 () - Coalition forces have conducted airstrikes against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) targets using Turkey’s İncirlik Air Base, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said after correcting a statement earlier from Aug. 13 in which he appeared to say U.S. forces had not yet attacked the jihadist group from the base.
“The U.S. has yet to hit Daesh [ISIL] through Turkey,” Çavuşoğlu had said in a televised interview, adding airstrikes have been launched from other regional countries so far. However, “reconnaissance flights” have started from İncirlik, the minister said, adding that the United States and Turkey would jointly coordinate anti-ISIL operations in the upcoming days.
But Pentagon spokeswoman Commander Elissa Smith said the U.S. began flying manned counter-ISIL missions from İncirlik on Aug. 12.
Later, both Turkish military sources speaking to Turkish media and the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed that U.S. jets flying from İncirlik had hit ISIL targets in Syria for the first time.
Speaking to daily Hürriyet, an aide of Çavuşoğlu, who requested to remain anonymous, said that “the minister had not meant the U.S. jets” in his statement. “Mr. Minister had wanted to say that there were no Turkish jets [hitting ISIL targets]” he added.