Turkish fighter jets pound IS positions in Syria
Ankara (AsiaNews/Agencies) - For the first time, Turkish fighter carried out air strikes against Islamic State (IS) positions in Syria following a suicide bomb attack by a suspected IS member in Suruc.
Three F-16 fighter jets took off from Diyarbakir airbase shortly before 4 am local time on Friday to bomb three IS targets, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's office said in a statement.
"Four guided bombs targeted two headquarters and an assembly point," the statement said. Turkey remains determined to fight all “terrorist” groups “without distinction,” it added.
Earlier on Thursday, Turkey fired tank shells across the border after fire from IS fighters killed a Turkish soldier near Kilis, an area where Ankara had recently sent reinforcements.
Meanwhile, Turkish anti-terrorism police arrested 251 people after launching simultaneous raids against the IS group and Kurdish militants in 13 Turkish provinces.
The air strikes and the raids came shortly after US defence officials said that Ankara had agreed to allow US planes to launch air strikes against IS from its airbase at Incirlik, close to the Syrian border.
According to Turkish daily Hürriyet, the new agreement between Turkey and the United States involves a partial no-fly zone along the Turkish-Syrian border. The 90-kilometre line between Syria’s Mare and Cerablus will be 40 to 50 kilometres deep.
The decision was made public on Thursday, a day after a telephone call between President Barack Obama and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
Until recently, Ankara was reluctant to become engaged in the fight against IS. In fact, many Kurds and even many Westerners criticised Ankara for its attitude towards IS since most would-be IS fighters tend to enter Syria by crossing the 911-km Syrian-Turkish border.