First Photos of F-16s Taking off from Turkey to Strike ISIS

The U.S. Defense Department this week released the first photos and videos of F-16 fighter jets taking off from Turkey to launch airstrikes against Islamic militants in Syria.

The first strikes were carried out Wednesday by the Lockheed Martin Corp.-made Fighting Falcons — a workhorse of the U.S. fighter fleet — from the Incirlik air base in southern part of the country, according to a report from the Associated Press. The pictures were released shortly thereafter.

The Pentagon didn’t specify the number or types of targets struck or how many of the six F-16s now at Incirlik were used in the initial strike, but from the photograph below, it’s clear at least four aircraft were involved.

The U.S. had already been flying armed drones from Incirlik. After the Turkish government last month agreed to base the fighters there, the U.S. added the F-16s from the 31st Fighter Wing, based at Aviano, Italy, in part to have better proximity to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, targets in Syria.

Here’s video of the F-16s taking off from Incirlik:

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Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of Military.com. He can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.
  • VTGunner

    Or we should let the Jordanians, Saudi’s, Egyptians, Iraqis, and Israel deal with their own problems.

  • Brian B. Mulholland

    Perhaps not heretics, but not People of the Book - not that it seems to make much difference to them. If it’s not basically Salafist, they kill it.

    • blight_

      The Samaritans were exterminated by the Muslims (though I doubt their people of the book neighbors were sympathetic). Extermination is strangely normal for the 0th century, and why anyone thinks 7th century, 0th century or pre-0th century rules are appropriate for the 21st boggles the mind.

    • CT129

      Muslims from Syria have been fighting ISIS tooth and nail without coalition support (although Assad did provide air cover for ISIS many times in the past). Syrian rebels fought ISIS all over the place from North Aleppo, to Qalamoun, Deir Ezzor, Quneitra… Probably 2000+ ISIS have been killed by Syrian rebels. ISIS is not considered Muslim at all, they even fall outside the ‘salafist’ realm. Terror groups like ISIS are khawarij and Muslims are commanded to fight them.

  • adam

    the turks are bombing PPK more like it, they have different priorities to the americans

  • Roger

    Mere pin pricks , if they are even permitted to drop their payloads. No FACS, no bombs. The last I heard less than 10% actually dropped weapons. This is primarily for show. Either crap or get off the pot.

  • donbacon

    The Turks worked a deal that allowed the US to use Incirlik if the US didn’t object to the Turks bombing their enemies the Kurds, who have been successful fighting ISIS. What a deal, substituting air power which has proven ineffective (e.g. see Roger above) for ground power.

  • donbacon

    Perhaps the Falcons will be flying convoy cover for ISIS supply trucks.

    from NEO-
    While many across the West play willfully ignorant as to where ISIS truly gets their supplies from in order to maintain its impressive fighting capacity, some journalists have traveled to the region and have video taped and reported on the endless convoys of trucks supplying the terrorist army.

    Were these trucks traveling to and from factories in seized ISIS territory deep within Syrian and Iraqi territory? No. They were traveling from deep within Turkey, crossing the Syrian border with absolute impunity, and headed on their way with the implicit protection of nearby Turkish military forces. Attempts by Syria to attack these convoys and the terrorists flowing in with them have been met by Turkish air defenses.

    Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) published the first video report from a major Western media outlet illustrating that ISIS is supplied not by “black market oil” or “hostage ransoms” but billions of dollars worth of supplies carried into Syria across NATO member Turkey’s borders via hundreds of trucks a day. The report titled, “‘IS’ supply channels through Turkey,” confirms what has been reported by geopolitical analysts since at least as early as 2011 – that ISIS subsides on immense, multi-national state sponsorship, including, obviously, Turkey itself.

    • blight_asdf

      Guerrilla movements need nation-state sponsors to survive. It is difficult to imagine IS surviving solely on what it can scavenge from the Iraqi and Syrian states. Even Gulf Salafibucks must be converted into weapons, ammunition and supplies for the troops. Logically these must come from somewhere, bought on the open market and smuggled in is likely. Turkey is a likely place to smuggle the stuff in. They could argue supplies are going to refugee camps in the Syrian border, or to humanitarian operations inside Syria (at least at a superficial level). That or the Turkish border is easily pried open with some bribes, and the movement of goods into Syria. That or the Turks are interested in keeping IS going just to go after the Kurds, but we’ve not seen serious efforts to exterminate the Kurds just yet (although this would tip the presence of Turkey if their anti-Kurd efforts were too…vigorous).

      The implications of Turkey supplying IS are interesting…as is the possibility that it isn’t Turkey’s bidding, but someone else’s. Almost makes me wonder if we are using IS as Muj 2.0, and simply using the IS to depose Assad and to get back at Iran. I’m sure Reagan would crack his little gipper smile at such Machiavellian-ness.

      Either the Turks are interested in keeping IS going, the US is using Turkey to keep IS going, or the border is insecure with Turkey and IS is exploiting that. That is a supply chain that needs to be broken.