ANKARA, Turkey – Turkish warplanes struck Islamic state group targets across the border in Syria, Turkey's government confirmed Friday.
A government official says three F-16 jets took off from Diyarbakir airbase in southeast Turkey early Friday and used smart bombs to hit three IS targets across the Turkish border province of Kilis. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of government rules requiring prior authorization for comment, said the targets were two command centers and a gathering point of IS supporters.
A government statement said the decision for the operation was taken at a security meeting on Thursday, held after IS militants fired from Syrian territory at a Turkish military outpost, killing a soldier.
The official said the Turkish planes had not violated Syrian airspace.
The bombing followed a decision by Turkey this week to allow the U.S. military to use the Incirlik air base near the border with Syria to launch airstrikes against the Islamic State.
The agreement, which President Barack Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed in a phone call Wednesday, follows months of U.S. appeals to Turkey and delicate negotiations over the use of Incirlik and other bases by the U.S.-led coalition — a sensitive topic in Turkey.
American officials said access to the base in southern Turkey would allow the U.S. to move more swiftly and nimbly to attack IS targets.
Turkey's moves came as the country finds itself drawn further into the conflict by a series of deadly attacks and signs of increased IS activity inside the country.
Butler reported from Istanbul.