ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey's critical air bases in the country's south and southeast are becoming a hub in the allied campaign against radical Islamists in Syria and Iraq.
Turkey recently agreed to allow the U.S. military to use its bases, most notably the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, for airstrikes against Syrian strongholds of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). It then sent its own fighter jets to join the air strikes against ISIS.
An initial batch of six U.S. fighters were deployed at Incirlik Aug. 10.
"This number may rise," said Turkish military sources.
The U.S. and Turkish militaries launched their first joint strikes against ISIS on Aug. 28 and 29, according to Turkish sources.
A senior Turkish diplomat said that Qatar could soon join the allied force striking from Turkish bases. He said that Qatar may soon send its fighter jets to Incirlik for U.S.-Turkish-Qatari airstrikes against ISIS.
He declined to comment on how many Qatari jets could be deployed at Incirlik or how soon.
"We expect the Qatari fleet in Turkey to be smaller than the U.S.," he said.
U.S. Ambassador to Ankara John Bass said Sept. 3 that American aircraft will remain at Incirlik Air Base as long as required in the struggle against the ISIL.
Meanwhile, France is considering joining the campaign against ISIS., the French daily Le Monde said Sept. 5. France currently participates only in missions against ISIS in Iraq.
"If France decides to join in Turkish bases will be even more instrumental in the fight against ISIS," the Turkish diplomat said.