Turkey has launched massive airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) targets in Syria. Early on Friday, Turkish warplanes struck three IS targets in Syria. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a statement that the airstrikes “completely destroyed” the targets. The airstrikes came a day after Islamic State militants exchanged fire with Turkish forces near the Syrian border, killing one Turkish soldier.
Turkey gives U.S. access to Incirlik airbase
On Monday, a suicide bombing that Turkish authorities blamed on ISIS killed 32 people in Suruc, a Turkish town along the Syrian border. Ankara reached the decision to attack ISIS targets during a national security meeting headed by PM Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday. Turkish forces had attacked ISIS targets in Syria in the past. But it was only in response to incoming fire from the ISIS positions within Syria.
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Friday’s airstrikes came soon after the U.S. President Barack Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reached an agreement to let the U.S. use the Incirlik airbase near Syria. It will help the U.S.-led coalition step up the fight against Islamic State by providing the U.S. forces with access from Turkey to Syria and Iraq.
Turkey issues stern warning to terror groups
Turkish Prime Minister said the ISIS targets were chosen based on intelligence inputs that suggested a buildup of arms and explosives in the area, reports CNN. Though the fighter planes completed their mission, Turkish officials did not rule out further airstrikes. The country was “committed to eliminating the national security threat.”
Turkish state TV said the airstrikes were carried out without violating Syrian air space. Three Turkish F-16s attacked the border village of Havar, which is next to the Turkish town of Kilis. Davutoglu said the jets would have gone into Syrian airspace as well if there was a need. He warned that any terror group trying to threaten Turkey’s borders would receive “the most ferocious response.” Turkish police have also launched raids against Kurdish and ISIS militants, arresting 297 people across the country on Friday.