Fighter jets from Turkey bombed position held by the Islamic State in nearby Syria for just the first time in an attack before dawn on Friday, a substantial expansion in the battle against the radical extremist group, announced the government of Turkey.
In another signal of the new aggressive stance by Turkey against ISIS, Recep Tayyip Erdogan the Turkish President confirmed on Friday that the country agreed to allow aircraft from the U.S. to use its Incirlik Air Base in the southern region of the country, within certain framework so they can launch airstrikes against ISIS. Erdogan did not elaborate on what the framework would be.
Erdogan said as well that terrorist groups must put down their weapons or they will face the consequences and the airstrikes on Friday were just the first steps in battling ISIS.
Earlier on Friday, Ahmet Davutoglu the Prime Minister of Turkey said the country was taking the necessary steps in protecting the security of its people and the airstrikes represent a process against world terrorism that is not limited to one day or one region.
The agreement to use the air base had been long sought for by the U.S., and was reached apparently on Wednesday in a call between President Obama and Erdogan.
The White House released a statement that said the two had agreed to deeper cooperation against the radical militants, but did not release any further details.
Access to that base would put the warplanes of the U.S., its surveillance aircraft and drones much closer to the positions of the militants.
The airstrikes on Friday by Turkey came amidst increased tensions between Turkey and the militant group, who have a large presence in Syria and posed an increasing threat to the safety of Turkey.
Militants on Thursday fired from Syria into Turkey killing one soldier in the Turkish army.
The U.S. has urged Turkey to play an active role in fighting IS, which has lured many fighters from the West who travel through Turkey to the battlefields along the border of Syria and Turkey which is 500 miles long.
The location of Turkey also makes it a hugely important ally in the coalition against IS organized by the U.S. Turkey has also taken steps recently making it much harder to cross from Turkey into Syria.