Syria warns Turkey against anti-ISIS incursions
Turkish PM says to ‘do whatever’ to halt ISIS from seizing Syrian border town of Kobani
Syria warned Turkey on Friday against any military intervention on its territories, saying it would consider it an act of “aggression,” a day after the Turkish military was given authorization to conduct cross-border incursions against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) operating in the Arab country.
The "declared policy of the Turkish government represents a real aggression against a member state of the United Nations," the Syrian Foreign Ministry said.
The warning came after Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vowed late Thursday that Ankara would do whatever it could to prevent the predominantly Kurdish town of Kobani, near its border with Syria, falling to ISIS militants.
Just hours before Davutoglu’s comment, Turkey’s parliament gave the government powers to order cross-border military incursions against ISIS, and to allow foreign coalition forces to launch similar operations from Turkish territory.
“We wouldn’t want Kobani to fall. We’ll do whatever we can to prevent this from happening,” Davutoglu said in a discussion with journalists broadcast on the A Haber television station.”
“No other country has the capacity to affect the developments in Syria and Iraq. No other country will be affected like us either,” he said.
Heavy clashes erupted on Friday between Kurdish militiamen and ISIS militants who have besieged a key Syrian town near the Turkish border, an Agence France Presse correspondent reported.
ISIS militants in Syria have advanced to within just a few kilometers of the eastern and southeastern edges of Kobani, known as Ain al-Arab in Arabic, despite U.S. air strikes in support of Kurdish fighters.
Heavy mortar fire around the town was heard across the border and plumes of white smoke were rising up, the correspondent reported from the Turkish side of the border.
“We are desperately watching what the murderer IS is doing,” said 48-year-old Turkish Kurd Cafer Seven, who came to Mursitpinar border crossing 10 days ago from the Turkish city of Van.
“We are in deep sorrow. Our brethren are under difficult conditions. This is brutality!” he said, as he gazed at the heavy smoke rising over Kobani.
Kurds have expressed anger and disappointment over Ankara's policy against ISIS, accusing the government of turning a blind eye to the group and refusing to allow Turkish Kurds to cross the border and fight in Syria.
"There is a massacre being committed before the eyes of the world. The world remains silent when Kurds are being massacred," said Burhan Atmaca, 54, who also came to Mursitpinar to show solidarity with Kurdish fighters in Kobane.
Turkey's parliament on Thursday endorsed a measure authorizing military action against the militant group, which has captured large areas in Syria and Iraq, declaring an Islamic "caliphate" and carrying out a wave of atrocities including beheadings.
ISIS fighters launched a major offensive against Kobani on Sept. 16, sparking an exodus of more than 160,000 mainly Kurdish refugees into Turkey.
Some 90 percent of residents of Kobani and nearby villages have fled for fear of an imminent assault by ISIS, Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday.