Turkish forces will remain in Syria for as long as it takes to cleanse the border of ISIS and other militants, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Friday, after a truck bombing by Kurdish militia killed at least 11 police officers.
The suicide bombing at a police headquarters in a province bordering Syria and Iraq came two days after Turkey launched its first major military incursion into Syria, an operation meant to drive ISIS out of the border area and stop Kurdish militias from seizing ground in their wake.
Turkey, a NATO member and part of the US-led coalition against ISIS, has seen a series of deadly bombings this year blamed on the radical Islamists. But it also fears Kurdish militias in Syria will seize a swathe of border territory and embolden Kurdish insurgents on its own soil.
President Tayyip Erdogan said the bombing in Sirnak province would increase Turkey’s determination as it fights terrorist groups at home and abroad. Yildirim said there was no doubt the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency for Kurdish autonomy, was responsible.
“From the beginning we have been defending Turkey’s territorial integrity. We are also defending Syria’s territorial integrity. The aim of these terrorist organisations is... to form a state in these countries... They will never succeed,” Yildirim told a news conference in Istanbul.
“We will continue our operations (in Syria) until we fully guarantee security of life and property for our citizens and the security of our border. We will continue until Daesh (ISIS) and other terrorist elements are taken out.”
After he spoke, the PKK claimed responsibility for the attack on the police headquarters, according to a website affiliated to the group.
Syria has condemned the Turkish operation, codenamed “Euphrates Shield”, as a breach of its sovereignty. Turkish special forces, tanks and warplanes launched the incursion in support of Syrian rebels, mostly Turkmen and Arab, who quickly took the border town of Jarablus from ISIS on Wednesday.
Turkish military vehicles shuttled in and out of Syria on Friday, Reuters witnesses said, including a construction machine that helped to flatten the route for a tank. Controlled explosions rang out around the Karkamis border crossing as Turkish security forces removed mines and booby traps left by
Ismail Metin, the commander of Turkey’s second army responsible for the borders with Syria and Iraq, visited Jarablus on Friday, local sources said.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر