Two Turkish Soldiers Killed in IS attack in Syria

TurkeyTwo Turkish soldiers were killed and five wounded on Tuesday in a rocket attack by Islamic State (IS) militants in northern Syria, in the first deadly attack on Ankara’s armed forces to be blamed on the jihadists in Turkey’s cross-border incursion.

Turkey launched an unprecedented operation inside Syria on August 24. Dubbed Euphrates Shield, it backs pro-Ankara opposition fighters in the goal of rooting out IS jihadists and Kurdish militia from the border area.

A senior Turkish official confirmed two soldiers were killed and five injured in an attack by IS in northern Syria.

The army said in a statement that the deaths came in a rocket attack on two Turkish tanks.

“Two of our hero comrades were martyred and five were wounded in a rocket attack on two of our tanks by Daesh elements,” it said.

Daesh is another term for IS, which is also known by the acronyms of ISIS or ISIL.

The army said the attack took place south of Al-Rai, where Turkish tanks opened a second front in their Syria operation at the weekend.

The area is west of Jarabulus near the Turkish border which was retaken by pro-Ankara rebels at the start of the operation from jihadists.

Turkish television showed pictures of military helicopters flying across the border to take the wounded for treatment in Turkey.

Separately, two pro-Ankara Syrian fighters were killed and two others wounded in clashes in the same region, the army statement added.

Turkey has so far hailed its operation as a success and IS jihadists were at the weekend expelled from their last positions along the Turkish-Syrian border, depriving the group of a key transit point for recruits and supplies.

Turkey wants to establish a safe zone in the 98-kilometre (61-mile) area stretching from Jarabulus to Azaz to the west. The government says this has been completely secured in the weekend’s operation.

The army also said on Tuesday “44 targets were struck 153 times with precision by Fırtına howitzers in a region identified as belonging to terrorists,” adding that coalition warplanes also launched air raids on IS positions.