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Turkey vows to fight ISIS in Jarablus, but aiming at Kurds says monitor

By Rudaw 23/8/2016
Turkey fires across its border into Syria near the town of Kilis earlier this year. Photo: Bulent Kilic/AFP
Turkey fires across its border into Syria near the town of Kilis earlier this year. Photo: Bulent Kilic/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region—Turkey has promised “all kinds of support” for an operation to liberate the northern Syrian city of Jarablus from Islamic State, saying it is unacceptable to have the militant group in control of any territory in Syria or Iraq. But a rights monitor and a local council believe Ankara’s real target is the Kurds, who are advancing in northern Syria on a daily basis. 

“We will provide all kinds of support to the Jarablus operation,” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a press conference on Tuesday, promising help to clear ISIS from Syria. “This is important for our own security.”

Turkish military vehicles are amassing along its border with Syria. And Ankara was closely watching developments in the area, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said in an interview with NTV television, noting, “What we have said, since the beginning, is that having Jarablus or any other city held by ISIS is unacceptable.”

The Free Syrian Army, which is backed by Turkey, announced on Monday that it is preparing to liberate Jarablus from ISIS, which has been under the militants’ control since early 2013.

Turkey fired at least 60 artillery rounds across the border on Tuesday, reportedly in retaliation for shelling of two Turkish border towns, an anonymous source told Anadolu Agency. 

Karkamış was hit by five mortar shells and another three landed in Kilis. There were no reports of casualties from Tuesday’s attacks but at least 21 people in Kilis have been killed in cross-border fire in the past few months.

Turkish police have asked residents of Karkamış to evacuate, according to Dogan News Agency. The governor is providing minibuses for those residents who do not have a car and civil servants have been given two days administrative leave. 

The mayor of Karkamış told CNN Turkey that there is no official evacuation order but that people are leaving the town voluntarily. 

Kilis and Jarablus lie just a few kilometres apart. 

The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdul Rahman, believes Turkey’s real aim in Syria is to stop the progress of Kurdish forces. 

“Turkish shelling in Syria aimed to prevent the advance of troops backed by Kurds from Manbij towards Jarablus,” Abdul Rahman told AFP. 

The Jarablus and its suburbs military council issued a statement on Sunday denouncing Turkey’s “hostile activities” which it said were begun immediately following the liberation of Manbij. They warned those parties acting under Turkey’s command to stop their actions against Jarablus, saying “We confirm that we will not stay just looking at these hated acts, we will protect our people and area according to the national principles.”

The council called on the United States and the international coalition to protect the Jarablus area from the Turkish army.

On Monday, Turkish artillery hit Kurdish Peoples Protection Units (YPG) positions 20 times, officials told Reuters. 

Turkey previously forcibly prevented Kurdish forces from advancing into that same northwestern swath of border territory, the Jarablus-Azaz line, last February, when it fired artillery at YPG fighters advancing towards Azaz from Afrin Canton to the west. 

US Vice President Joe Biden will be in Ankara on Wednesday to meet with Turkey’s leaders. Strategy in Syria is likely a main issue that will be discussed.


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Observer | 23/8/2016
When ISIS and other jihadi groups took all those border regions with Turkey ethnically cleansing tens of thousands of Kurds almost 3 years ago the Turkish government was silent, nor did they do anything during all the time ISIS has had control. All the border crossing with ISIS was open but all the border crossing with Kurdish held territory was closed. Finely when Kurdish forces started to drive ISIS back they start to panic, screaming threatening and shelling, not ISIS but Kurds!
kutr basar | 23/8/2016
Turks are as a occupiers of the Kurdish land & oppressors of the Kurd's will sell their filthy soul to the Russians, Iranians or any tyrant for just to stop any Kurdish Autonomy in Syria, because of that they are bombing the Kurd's, who are ally of the USA in this cruel war against the ISIL savages. This latest unjust, immoral and barbaric Turkish war against the Kurd's in Turkey, has nothing to do with the terrorism or terrorists, it is all about to continue denying the Kurdish cultural rights and not allowing 25 millions of Kurd's to teach, write, read or singing their own language. This latest bombing of the Kurd's in city of the Gaziantep was retaliation of the city of Elazig bombing, by the Mr. Erdogan special ISIL (MIT) criminal forces. Turkish terrorist state will never have a democracy until Mr. Erdogan, who has blood of the chard Kurdish children's & American citizens blood (by supporting the ISIL savages) on his hand put on trial at the international court, otherwise this leader of the Muslim brotherhood & ISIL savages will continue to provoke the Muslim nations & sell USA to the Russians without any regret and that is the truth.
darn | 23/8/2016
come on, no one bought turkish BS propaganda that they somehow were going after ISIL. they never have and never will
Francis.GR | 24/8/2016
Turkey already provided "all kinds of support" to ISIS in Rojava for years. So I suppose they know what they are talking about.
Turkey | 24/8/2016
Turkey speak with forked tongue. Namely they are snake. Say one thing and does other. Cannot be trusted.

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