Turkey evacuates troops guarding tomb inside Syria

Published February 22nd, 2015 - 03:12 GMT

Turkish forces have successfully relocated the tomb of a former leader in Syria and are now evacuating the area, Reuters reported. 

Turkey swept into Syria to rescue 40 soldiers that have been guarding the tomb of Suleyman Shah, former prime minister and grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire. The Syrian government described the ground mission as an act of "flagrant aggression," Reuters reported Sunday, and said it would hold Ankara responsible for its repercussions.

The operation took place in Kobani, near the Syrian Kurdish border, with the help of Kurdish authorities.

The Turkish soldiers have been surrounded by Daesh (ISIS) militants for months during their presence. Reuters said this was the first incursion by Turkish troops into Syria since the start of the conflict, at a site that Ankara considers sovereign territory.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a news conference that Turkey didn't ask for permission before the mission but had told allies in the US-led coalition against Daesh when it began. The military said there have been no clashes yet, but one soldier was killed in an accident. 

Turkish soldiers raised the Turkish flag at the relocation site for the tomb, Reuters reported. Davutoglu said they planned to return the tomb to its original location once the security situation improved.

"This was an extremely successful operation with no loss to our rights under international law," Davutoglu said, according to Reuters. 

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