3 Turkish soldiers killed in Daesh attack

Published September 7th, 2016 - 01:00 GMT
Turkish Army soldiers walking by tanks near Turkish Syrian border of Karkamis. (AFP/File)
Turkish Army soldiers walking by tanks near Turkish Syrian border of Karkamis. (AFP/File)

Three Turkish soldiers were killed and five others wounded during clashes with Daesh in northern Syria, government sources in Ankara said on Tuesday.

The extremist militia struck two Turkish tanks with missiles near the Syrian border town of al-Rai, Turkey's Dogan news agency reported. Two Turkish soldiers were dead at the site of the attack; the third died later from his injuries, the news agency reported, citing the military.

Two rebels from the Free Syrian Army were also killed, other Turkish media reports said.

The Daesh organization said earlier Tuesday that its fighters destroyed two Turkish tanks with guided missiles south of al-Rai.

The operation took place in tandem with an attack by a suicide bomber on Turkish-backed rebels in the area, the organization said via the Telegram messaging app. 

Turkey, a strong backer of the Syrian opposition, moved hundreds of rebel fighters into the northern border area two weeks ago for its first ground operation inside Syria.

The rebels, backed by Turkish tanks and airstrikes, quickly captured the key border town of Jarabulus, and on Sunday seized the last stretch of the border controlled by Daesh, cutting the extremist organization off from the outside world.

Over the past two days they have advanced deeper inside Syrian territory, capturing a string of villages, according to rebel sources.

Turkey and the rebels also clashed for several days with Kurdish-led forces, who have been the main US ally inside Syria in the war against Daesh. Turkey's first declared casualty during the intervention came in that fighting.

There have been no evident clashes with the Kurdish-led forces for the last seven days. The Kurds say that a ceasefire is in place, although Turkey denies that it came to any agreement with them.

Ankara has said its operations in Syria are aimed at both Daesh and the Kurdish forces, whom it distrusts because of their close links with banned Kurdish rebels operating on its soil.

Daesh had held territory on the Turkish border for two years, using it as its pipeline for bringing in thousands of foreign fighters.

It lost most of the border to the Kurds, backed by intense US airstrikes, over the past year.

© 2021 dpa GmbH

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