Turkey tells border town residents to evacuate

A Turkish army tank and an armored vehicle are stationed near the border with Syria, in Karkamis, Turkey, just across the border from Syria’s Jarabulus. Turkey has been shelling ISIS positions in Jarabulus. (AP)

Turkey on Tuesday ordered residents to evacuate a Turkish border town that lies opposite the Syrian town of Jarabulus controlled by ISIS militants, television reported.

Police warned residents through loudspeakers to evacuate “for safety reasons” the town of Karkamis which was hit by a series of mortars fired from ISIS-held areas.

Reports have also suggested Ankara-backed rebels are preparing a major operation to seize Jarabulus from the militants.

Turkey has been shelling ISIS positions in Jarabulus to help allied Syrian rebels secure it. Rebel sources say they have been mobilizing in Turkey, ready to cross into Jarabulus.

Turkey pledged Tuesday to give “all kinds of support” to push ISIS militants out of the city, near the two countries’ border.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu made the promise amid the reports that Ankara-backed rebels were massing on the border in anticipation of an impending operation against ISIS.

“We will provide all kinds of support to the Jarabulus operation,” Cavusoglu said, promising to help “cleanse” ISIS from neighboring countries.

"We do not want Daesh to exist in Iraq and Syria," he told reporters, using an Arabic acronym for the ISIS group.

Turkey on Tuesday pounded ISIS positions in Syria with artillery strikes after a deadly attack near its border killed at least 54 people.

“We shelled ISIS positions across the border,” said a Turkish official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Turkish media reported that tanks and armored vehicles amassed on the Syrian border.

In a live interview with private NTV television, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Turkey was closely monitoring the developments on the Syrian side of the border, adding that Ankara sees this “as a national security matter.”

“What we have said, since the beginning, is that having Jarabulus or any other city held by ISIS is unacceptable," he said.

(With AFP, Reuters)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48
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