Turkey has authorised the use of military force against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.It has also given permission for other countries to use its bases,such as Incerlik Air Base,in the conflict.
Several US and Arab ally airstrikes have been carried out in the Kobani area of Northern Syria in recent weeks as US allies the Kurdish ground forces attempt to save the strategically important city from Islamic State militants.The IS is trying to stretch its control over a swath of territory more than 100 kilometers-or 62 miles-from its headquarters in Raqqa,Syria to Kobani near the Turkish border.The airstrikes destroyed two IS fighting positions south of Kobani Tuesday.Also,witnesses observed two large plumes of smoke just west of Kobani after hearing the sounds of military aircraft.Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been participating in these Syria airstrikes.
One of the targets struck was an IS staging area/IED factory.
Despite the increased tempo of the air war against them,the militants have succeeded in capturing several villages near the city and making various incursions into it,raising their black and white flag.The IS has seized several buildings on the southern edge of town,as well as a hospital being built on the western side.Kurdish forces were still flying their flag over the center of town as of Tuesday,but are outnumbered and outgunned.*
Over the weekend,US Army Boeing AH-64 Apache helicopter gunships were brought into the air war for the first time to engage the enemy west of Baghdad,a sign of the deteriorating situation in Anbar Province.The targets there,as well as many of them in Kobani,are too close to Kurdish forces or the Turkish border to use fighter aircraft
On 22 September,the US Air Force sent its front line Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighters into combat for the first time ever.The Raptor,a stealth aircraft with internalised weapons bays,were used to strike IS targets in Syria.It was deemed appropriate to send them because of uncertainty about whether Syria might switch on its advanced air defences as the US conducted its first raids over Syria.In the event,Syria did not respond.
The Raptors were sent in the second wave of attacks.Stationed in the Middle East,the fifth generation warplanes can fly very high and fast-more than Mach 1.5-in all weather.The US Air Force has 188 of these agile strike aircraft.*
Also recently brought into the air war over Iraq were the RAF Panavia Tornado fighters.These swept wing aircraft are considered to be among the best high speed/low level attack planes in the world.They flew in from RAF Akrotiri,Cyprus.*