Today, August 24, Turkish military has started its cross-border operation „Euphrates Shield“ against ISIS in northern Syria.
The Turkish Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement that Turkey’s armed forces started the operation, alongside the US-led coalition, early this morning in the border town of Jarablus (Jarabulus).
According to the news media and government’s statements, Operation “Euphrates Shield” started at 4 AM (EEST) with heavy artillery strikes on ISIS positions in Jarablus. At 5:55 AM Turkish Special Forces crossed the border and entered Syria.
Turkish F-16 fighter jets, as well as tanks, were involved in the operation by hitting the ISIS strongholds in and around the border town of Jarablus. According to the Dogan News Agency, Turkish tanks entered into Syria and engaged ISIS targets in Jarablus at around 8 AM.
News media reported that the Free Syrian Army is taking several villages around Jarablus.
Responses to the “Operation Euphrates Shield”
The Vice-President of the US, Joe Biden, arrived in Ankara today at 10:30 AM for a scheduled meeting with Turkish top officials.
Just two days before the “Euphrates Shield” operation, the PM of Turkey, Binali Yildrim, publicly called for change of course on the Syrian issue, arguing that Turkey, Iran, Russia, US and Gulf states have to come to an agreement on how to manage the crisis in Syria. Binali re-stated Turkey’s stance on the importance of preservation of Syrian territorial integrity, and called for the forming of the united government in Syria which would represent all major groups.
President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, commented on the anti-ISIS operation, saying that Turkey is trying to prevent further attacks on its citizens from Syria. Erdogan added; “Syria is the reason why are we exposed to terror both from ISIS and the YPG.”
Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu also commented on the operation, saying Ankara is fully cooperating with Coalition forces, and noted that the Free Syrian Army also crossed the border.
According to a report by Reuters, which cites Syrian state TV, the Foreign Ministry of Syria condemned crossing of the border by the Turkish military calling it a “breach of sovereignty.”
Based in Bosnia and Herzegovina. BA in political science. Columnist.