08/23/2016, 09.49
TURKEY - SYRIA

Turkish raids against the Islamic State (and Kurdish militia) in Syria

Ankara launched a series of cross border attacks against the jihadists in Jarablus and Manbij. The bombing also hit Kurdish positions. The Turkish army ready to launch an offensive against Daesh. August 20 attack jihadist response to military threat. Doubts about the identity and age of the suicide bombers.

Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Turkey has launched a series of attacks against the Islamic State objectives (IS) in northern Syria. Meanwhile there are rumors that rebel groups operating in the area are preparing to launch a major offensive against the jihadists.

The Ankara army offensive is a response to the bloody attack of August 20, when a suicide bomber blew himself up during a wedding party, killing dozens of people. Even Pope Francis recalled the massacre Sunday last in his Angelus reflection, launching an appeal for peace "dear Turkey."

In the last few hours army units have launched rockets and artillery shells across the border from the Turkish territory against IS positions as well as those of the Kurdish YGP (People's Protection Units). The missiles hit several targets in the Syrian city of Jarablus and Manbij.

Local sources said that in the Turkish town of Gaziantep there are at least 1,500 Syrian rebels, backed by Turkey, ready to attack. There would also be dormant IS cells ready to strike.

The military offensive is the Ankara government response to a kamikaze attack that hit a wedding party, killing more than 50 people most of them children. Even today there are at least 66 people hospitalized, 14 of them in serious condition.

Witnesses in the area say that the attack of August 20 by the Islamic State was the jihadists' response to the "imminent" Turkish military operation.

At first the authorities in Ankara and the president Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said that the author of the massacre would be a child was between 12 and 14 years. In fact there is no confirmation of this. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has calmed polemics pointing out that there are currently no certainties about the age of the executioner.

Analysts and experts believe that the wave of attacks is bound to intensify in conjunction with the increased commitment of Turkey in the war in Syria and the military campaign against Daesh [Arabic acronym for the Islamic state]. The Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that IS must be "completely cleared" from northern Syria.

However, under the pretext of attacking the jihadists Turkey is also attacking Kurdish YGP deployed north of Manbij.

The Turkish leadership believe the Kurdish fighters are an extension of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a group that for decades has been fighting for autonomy in southeastern Turkey and considered illegal by Ankara.

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