Turkey strikes IS and Kurdish positions in Syria ahead of offensive

Spread the love

Turkey has bombarded so-called Islamic State (IS) targets in northern Syria amid reports Syrian rebels are to launch an offensive against the group.

Artillery positions inside Turkey fired on IS as well as Kurdish YPG militia targets in the towns of Jarablus and Manbij.

Some 1,500 Turkish-backed Syrian rebels are thought to be in the Turkish town of Gaziantep waiting to attack.

This follows a bomb attack on a wedding there that killed more than 50 people.

The BBC’s Mark Lowen in Gaziantep says the imminent offensive may have spurred the suicide bombing, thought to be the work of IS.

However Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says the identity of the bomber – initially thought to be a child – has not yet been established.

More victims of the blast are being identified and our correspondent says the wave of bombings in Turkey could intensify as the country becomes ever more embroiled in the Syrian war.

Tweet by Ceylan YeginsuImage copyrightTWITTER

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said IS should be “completely cleansed” from northern Syria.

A coalition including Syrian Kurdish YPG forces has been pushing IS out of Syrian towns, including Manbij.

However the Turkish bombardment has also struck YPG positions north of Manbij, Turkish TV reported.

Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a Turkish-Kurdish rebel group fighting for autonomy within Turkey since the 1980s.


Mr Yildirim said an earlier statement identifying the attacker as a child aged between 12 and 14 was a “guess” based on witness accounts.

Most of the 54 victims of the Gaziantep attack were children, media reports say.

Relatives of Ahmet Toraman, who was killed in a bomb attack on late 20 August, mournImage copyrightEPA
Image captionRelatives of one of the victims, Ahmet Toraman
People wait close to empty graves at a cemetery during the funeral for the victims of last night's attack on a wedding party that left 50 dead in Gaziantep in south-eastern Turkey near the Syrian border on August 21, 2016.Image copyrightAFP
Image captionGraves were dug at a nearby cemetery to accommodate the victims
Funeral for victim of suicide attack in Gaziantep, south-eastern Turkey. 21 Aug 2016Image copyrightAFP
Image captionFunerals were held on Sunday for those victims identified so far
Map of Turkey and Syria showing Jarablus, Gaziantep, Manbij

Thirteen of those killed were women, Turkish media said. Sixty-six people are still in hospital, 14 of them in a serious condition, Dogan news agency reported.

A disproportionately large number of women and children were killed in the attack because it targeted henna night, a part of the celebration attended mainly by women and children, says BBC Monitoring’s Turkey analyst Pinar Sevinclidir.

Hurriyet newspaper said the type of bomb, which contained scraps of metal, was similar to those used in previous attacks on pro-Kurdish gatherings.

Gaziantep, near the Syrian border, is known to contain several IS cells.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *