Turkish warplanes struck ISIS targets across the border in Syria today, government officials say, a day after militants fired at a Turkish military outpost, killing a soldier. The bombing is a strong tactical shift for Turkey, which had long been reluctant to join the US-led coalition against the extremist group. A government official says three F-16 jets used smart bombs to hit two command centers and a gathering point of ISIS supporters. A government statement said the decision for the operation was made at a security meeting yesterday, held after five ISIS militants fired from Syrian territory at the outpost, prompting Turkish retaliation that killed at least one militant.
The bombing followed a decision by Turkey this week to allow the US military to use the key Incirlik Air Base near the Syrian border to launch airstrikes against ISIS, senior US officials say. Turkey has yet to publicly confirm the agreement, which follows months of US appeals to Turkey and delicate negotiations over the use of Incirlik and other bases by the US-led coalition—a sensitive topic in Turkey. American officials say access to the base in southern Turkey will allow the US to move more swiftly and nimbly to attack ISIS targets. Turkey's moves come as the country finds itself drawn further into the conflict by a series of deadly attacks and signs of increased ISIS activity, including a suicide bombing that killed 32 people in a town near the Syrian border earlier this week. (Read more ISIS stories.)