Turkish troops clash with ISIS in Syria

Turkish troops head to the Syrian border, in Karkamis, Turkey, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016. Turkey on Wednesday sent tanks across the border to help Syrian rebels retake the key ISIS-held town of Jarablus and to contain the expansion of Syria’s Kurds in an area bordering Turkey. (AP)

Turkey’s army said it clashed with ISIS over the border in Syria, leaving one soldier and 23 militants dead, as Ankara stepped up an operation to clear fighters from the war-torn zone.

Three other Turkish soldiers were wounded in the encounter near the Syrian village of Ziyara over the past 24 hours, part of Ankara’s “Euphrates Shield” offensive, the military added on Wednesday.

Turkey’s entry into Syria has raised fears of a further escalation in an increasingly regional conflict.

But Ankara says its efforts to cleanse its border region of ISIS militants are legitimate under international law as self-defense after months of rocket attacks and bombings in cities along the boundary.

President Tayyip Erdogan has also made it clear that Turkish forces are in Syria to prevent the Syrian Kurdish militia from expanding areas under its control.

Two Syrian rebel fighters backed by Turkey died in other clashes with ISIS along the boundary, the Turkish military statement said. The Ankara-backed rebels had seized control of around 980 square km (378 square miles) of territory since Euphrates Shield began on Aug. 24, it added.

Separately, US-led coalition warplanes launched nine air strikes on ISIS targets in northern Syria, killing five further militants, the military said in its daily summary of the Syrian operation.

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