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Six U.S. Air Force jets and 300 military personnel arrived at a Turkish airbase Sunday, following Turkey's decision to host American aircraft in the fight against ISIS, according to a Pentagon statement.
Senior defense officials told NBC News that the F-16 Falcons stationed at Turkey's Incirlik base will begin air patrols "within a few days."
The U.S. started launching airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq just a little more than a year ago and armed drones at Incirlik have already been conducting airstrikes against ISIS and al Nusra forces in Syria. But manned aircraft fighting ISIS have previously been flown from the Persian Gulf — hundreds of miles away from ISIS targets in Syria. Incirlik is just a little more than 100 miles from the Syrian border.
The deployment "follows Turkey's decision to host the deployment of U.S. aircraft conducting counter-[ISIS] operations," according to the Defense Department.
"The United States and Turkey, as members of the 60-plus nation coalition, are committed to the fight against ISIL in the pursuit of peace and stability in the region."