UAE squadron lands in Jordan to back strikes on ISIS

The F-16 fighter jets were deployed at a Jordanian air base along with UAE pilots and technicians

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A squadron of warplanes from the United Arab Emirates arrived Sunday in Jordan to help the kingdom in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group, state media reported.

The F-16 fighter jets were deployed at a Jordanian air base along with UAE pilots and technicians, said the kingdom’s official Petra news agency.

Jordan and the UAE are part of the U.S.-led coalition that has been carrying out air strikes against ISIS since last year.

The kingdom said on Sunday that it conducted 56 strikes against IS in the past three days, as it intensifies its role following the burning alive of one of its pilots by the militants.

Squadron chief Saeed Hassan told Petra the newly arrived UAE team “stands ready to carry out any mission in coordination with the Jordanian armed forces.”

C-17 transporters and refuelling planes were part of the squadron sent to Jordan on the orders of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan as a show of solidarity.

“The initiative... reaffirms the UAE’s unwavering and constant solidarity with Jordan and its leading role and immense sacrifices for the security and stability of the region as embodied by martyr and hero Moaz al-Kasasbeh,” the UAE state news agency WAM said.

Kasasbeh is the Jordanian pilot captured by ISIS when his plane crashed over northern Syria in December and later burned alive.

Following Kasasbeh’s murder, the UAE withdrew from the coalition’s strike missions over fears for the safety of its pilots.

However, a U.S. official said on Friday, after Secretary of State John Kerry met Gulf ministers in Munich, that UAE flights were likely to resume “in a couple of days.”