Turkey Started Offensive in Syria Against Islamic State Militants

Time: 1:51 p.m. CEST

Turkey sent on Wednesday tanks, warplanes and special operation forces in Syria, the New York Times reports. The efforts are approved by the U.S. backed operation against the Islamic State group. The Times reports the action on the city of Jarabulus started before Vice President Joseph R. Biden meet with the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara.

The joint operation as the Turkish officials stated, began at 4:00 a.m. with Turkish and United States warplanes targeting Islamic State group in Jarabulus, which is a vital supply line for the militants, across the border. The Turkish state broadcaster TRT said, the special operations troops entered Syria to clear the space for a ground operation.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group said in a statement that about 500 Syrian rebels are on the Turkish side of the border to prepare for the ground offensive.

This operation happens days after Turkey said it would like to clean its borders after the suicide attack at a Kurdish weeding in Turkey, which killed 54 people. Turkish authorities blamed Islamic State militants for the blast.

Prior to beginning of the operation, the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu pledged every kind of support to the operation against IS across the border. “Daesh should be completely cleansed from our borders, and we are ready to do what it takes for that,” Mr. Cavusoglu said on Tuesday at a news conference in Ankara, the Turkish capital, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State, the Times reports.

The Times, also says, “Turkish officials are also concerned about the growing influence of United States-backed Syrian Kurds across the Syrian frontier because of their links to Kurdish insurgents that Turkey considers a national security threat. The Kurdish militias have captured large portions of land across the border, and analysts say that a Kurdish advance toward Jarabulus could lead to a confrontation with Turkey.”

In Istanbul, where a suicide attack in June at the main airport killed over 40 people, the Turkish counterrorism police carried out down raids on Wednesday against suspected of being Islamic State militants.



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