US sends search-and-rescue aircraft, crew to Turkey

US Incirlik Airbase in Turkey's Adana province.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. aircraft and about 300 Air Force troops have begun arriving at a military base in Turkey to provide search and rescue capabilities for the fighting in Iraq and Syria.

Pentagon officials said there will be a number of Pave Hawk helicopters and search-and-rescue versions of the C-130 transport plane stationed at Diyarbakir Air Base in southeast Turkey.

U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, head of U.S. 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 the agreement earlier this year between the U.S. and Turkey. The agreement includes the use of Incirlik Air Base to launch U.S. fighter aircraft and surveillance missions into Syria. The U.S. began flying strike missions out of Incirlik in August.

The newly arrived aircraft would be used for military rescues or other emergencies as needed.

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