Turkey said to allow US to use base for ISIS airstrikes

Turkey said to allow US to use base for ISIS airstrikes
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The U.S. and Turkey have reached an agreement to allow for American manned aircraft to carry out airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria from a base in southern Turkey, according to The New York Times. 

Allowing the use of the Incirlik Air Base would shorten the time it would take for U.S. aircraft to conduct manned strikes against the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria, allowing for aircraft to stay in the air longer to target ISIS. 

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Turkey had previously allowed unmanned, or drone, strikes from the air base, but not manned strikes. 

One senior administration official told the Times that the development is a "game changer." 

The new development came after months of negotiations, and culminated with a phone call between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Obama on Wednesday afternoon, the Times reported

"The United States and Turkey have held ongoing consultations about ways we can further our joint counter-ISIL efforts," said Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis, using another name for ISIS. 

"We have decided to further deepen our cooperation in the fight against ISIL, our common efforts to promote security and stability in Iraq, and our work to bring about a political settlement to the conflict in Syria," he said.  

Turkey is also hosting a training site for the U.S. program to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels to take on ISIS.

On Thursday, local reports said Turkish forces engaged in direct combat with ISIS in Syria for the first time.