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U.S. Backing Turkish Military Units Battling ISIS PDF Print E-mail
American warplanes and combat advisers are once again backing Turkish military units battling Islamic State fighters in northern Syria, the most tangible indication yet that months of tension between the NATO allies may be easing.  

Four airstrikes, occurring Tuesday near the town of al Bab, hit Islamic State construction equipment and tactical vehicles, including an armored personnel carrier, said Air Force Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition based in Baghdad. Dorrian indicated the mission, developed with Turkish commanders, most likely was enabled by American ground troops working nearby. 

"One of the things that we very much prize is to have boots on the ground operating in proximity to, or directly with, our partner forces. That's the preferred alternative," Dorrian said, when asked whether airstrikes conducted in support of Turkey require spotting by American air controllers who can see the desired targets. "And that is one of the reasons why we have to be very careful, especially on a very crowded and complex battlefield with a lot of different actors to make sure that we're hitting the targets that we intend to hit." 
 
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