Syria’s Foreign Ministry condemned what it said was a breach of its sovereignty and accused Turkey of launching an incursion to replace ISIL with “other terrorist groups.” This offensive comes just days after a suicide bomber suspected of links to ISIL killed more than 50 people at a wedding in the southeastern city of Gaziantep.
CCTV’s Natalie Carney has more from the Turkey Syria border.Follow Natalie Carney on Twitter @NatalieCarney77
Turkey sends tanks, troops across Syrian borderSyria’s Foreign Ministry condemned what it said was a breach of its sovereignty and accused Turkey of launching an incursion to replace ISIL with “other terrorist groups.” CCTV’s Natalie Carney has more from the Turkey Syria border.
Turkish tanks and war planes bombed upwards of 100 ISIL positions near the occupied town of Jarablus in northern Syria to clear the path for 5,000 Free Syrian Army rebels to advance.
Some 16 hours later, the Turkish President announced its liberation from ISIL control.
“As of this moment, Free Syrian Army and residents of Jarablus have taken back Jarablus. They seized the state buildings and official institution buildings in the town. According to the information we just received, Daesh had to leave Jarablus,” Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
The operation dubbed Euphrates Shield was Turkey’s first major ground assault into Syria since the country’s civil war began.
Losing Jarablus will be a serious hit to the terrorist organization. They’ve now lost one of their remaining supply routes to transit weaponry and fighters in and out of the country.
Jarablus was also the last major ISIL stronghold in the border region.
After losing the strategic town, ISIL reportedly fled west toward the Syrian border town of Al Bab. But Syrian army and rebel forces surrounding the town will make it difficult to enter.
Yet Turkey’s aim is not only to oust ISIL terrorists from the area, but also to contain the expansion of Syria’s Kurds, who now control a large stretch along the Turkey, Syria border.
Ankara views the Syrian Kurd’s Democratic Union Party or PYD as an extension of the PKK, the Kurdish separatists fighting an insurgency in Turkey.
“The PYD’s (Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party) secret agenda is revealed. We want to mention it today, also those YPG (Syrian Kurdish militia) forces inside the democratic forces should return back to the east of Euphrates. The US also promised this. This is the deal that we made. We will do what is necessary for Turkey,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.
On Tuesday, residents of the small Turkish town of Karkamis, just across the border from Jarablus, were evacuated from their homes after the town was hit by seven mortar shells, believed to be launched by ISIL.
Meanwhile, late Wednesday, more Turkish tanks were seen heading towards Jarablus, which could indicate, the fight is not yet over? At least, for Turkey.