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Turkey to Allow Use of Key Air Base for U.S. Warplanes to Bomb Islamic State

AMMAN, Jordan - The United States and Turkey have reached an agreement in which manned and unmanned U.S. warplanes will carry out airstrikes against the Islamic State from Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, near the Syrian border, Obama administration officials said Thursday.

The agreement, described by one senior administration official as a “game changer,” came after months of negotiations that culminated Wednesday with a phone call between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and President Obama, another administration official said.

The development came as Turkish forces were reported to have engaged in the first direct combat with Islamic State forces on the Syrian side of the border.

The developments vaulted Turkey squarely into the broader battle with the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. It was a step Turkish authorities had been reluctant to take until now in their effort to protect Turkey’s 500-mile border with Syria, where the Islamic State is firmly ensconced.

Turkey had allowed unmanned strikes from Incirlik but had balked at allowing manned airstrikes.

– New York Times

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