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Turkey, U.S., Conduct First Joint Airstrikes Against ISIS

Turkish warplanes have conducted their first airstrikes against the self-declared Islamic State in Syria as part of a U.S.-led coalition against the extremist group.

The joint airstrikes were carried out late Friday, according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry.

As The Associated Press notes, they come after "months of hesitation" that over what role NATO member Turkey would play in the anti-ISIS coalition. However, last month, Ankara agreed to become a more active participant.

Although Turkey launched unilateral airstrikes last month, Friday's operations were the first done in concert with U.S. warplanes.

"Our fighter aircraft, together with warplanes belonging to the coalition, began as of yesterday evening to jointly carry out air operations against [Isis] targets that also constitute a threat against the security of our country," a spokesman for the foreign ministry said. "The fight against the terrorist organisation is a priority for Turkey."

Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said Turkish jets were "fully integrated" with the coalition campaign.

"We commend Turkey for its participation in counter-[ISIS] air operations alongside other coalition nations in the international campaign to degrade and ultimately defeat [ISIS]," said Cook said, according to the AP.

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Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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