Brussels-The fight against ISIS is a main topic on the agenda of discussions of NATO defense ministers who are holding a two-day meeting in Brussels.
Alliance head Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday that NATO will contribute its support for the U.S.-led coalition battling ISIS in Syria and Iraq through sophisticated surveillance planes.
NATO leaders agreed in July to commit the AWACS planes after Washington had pressed hard for the alliance to make a concrete gesture to help the fight against ISIS.
“NATO itself is now offering direct support with our AWACS surveillance aircraft,” Stoltenberg told a press briefing in Brussels, announcing that the first flight took place on October 20.
NATO was “committed to sustaining the coalition’s momentum so that ISIS can be defeated once and for all,” he said at alliance headquarters on the sidelines of the two-day defense ministers meeting.
Stoltenberg’s remarks came as U.S.-led coalition forces carried out 11 airstrikes against ISIS terrorists in Syria and Iraq on Tuesday, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve said in a press release.
The coalition airstrikes in Syria were launched near the towns of Abu Kamal, Shadaddi and Mara, and destroyed tactical units, fighting positions and vehicles.
In Iraq, the airstrikes were waged near four locations, including Mosul and Haditha, and destroyed a number of ISIS infrastructure targets, such as tunnels, mortar systems, fighting positions, communications facilities and vehicles.
In addition to the war on ISIS, the NATO defense ministers are set to evaluate previous decisions taken in building up the battalions being deployed in eastern European allies.
NATO leaders endorsed plans at their Warsaw summit in July to rotate troops into the three Baltic states and Poland to reassure them they would not be left in the lurch if Russia was tempted to repeat its Ukraine intervention.
Britain, Canada, Germany and the United States agreed in July to lead the battalions of some 1,000 troops each, with the other 24 NATO allies expected to provide different components — transport, communications and medical units.