The United States military flew its first manned airstrikes from a Turkish air base in the fight against ISIS Tuesday, a Defense department spokeswoman said in a statement.
The development came following lengthy negotiations between Washington and Ankara over US requests to use Incirlik Air Base to conduct strikes against Islamic State militants.
“Today, the United States began flying manned counter-ISIL missions from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. Strikes were conducted,” Cmdr. Elissa Smith told Fox News in a statement.
Smith said the new missions are part of Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, and called the new missions “part of a deeper US-Turkey counter-ISIL cooperation.”
The U.S. Air Force moved 6 F-16 fighter jets from their base in Aviano, Italy to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey on Sunday.
This new base allows U.S. jets to strike ISIS targets in Syria in as little as 30 minutes—allowing for more on station time and less fuel.
Refueling tankers are due to land at Incirlik in the near future, which will allow for greater flight time over the target.
The US began flying unmanned missions against the terror group from the installation earlier in August, after Turkey gave Washington permission to use the air base, near the Syrian border, in July.
“This is a threat at their doorstep,” a senior U.S. defense official told the Wall Street Journal in July, of ISIS’ proximity to Turkey.
“In the end, it’s in their self-interest to let us use the base to strike ISIL,” the official said.
The terror group’s de-facto capital is the Syrian city of Raqqa.
Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin and Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.