US aircraft and about 300 airmen have begun arriving at a military base in Turkey to provide search-and-rescue capabilities to assist the fighting in Iraq and Syria.
Pentagon officials said there will be a number of Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters and search-and-rescue versions of the C-130 transport plane stationed at Diyarbakır Air Base in southeast Turkey.
US Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, head of the US European Command, said the aircraft and crew “will enable us to better recover our coalition partners should they need assistance in Syria or Iraq.”
The deployment of troops and aircraft to the base is part of an agreement made in August between the US and Turkey. The agreement includes the use of İncirlik Air Base from which to launch US fighter aircraft and surveillance missions into Syria. The US began flying strike missions out of Incirlik in August.