20 tanks, 5 armored personal carriers with 100 Turkish troops deployed in Syria Saturday as incursion furthers west
Turkey deployed more tanks into Syria on Saturday, entering the town of al-Rai, a Syrian rebel strong hold over 55 kilometers from Jarablus.
Turkish media reported that 20 tanks, 5 armored personal carriers and over 100 Turkish troops were sent into Syria, the incursion deepening farther west into Syrian territory.
According to reports from Syrian rebels, over eight villages were recaptured and Islamic State militants ousted since the beginning of Operation Euphrates Shield. On August 24th, Turkish tanks invaded Syria claiming to be combatting the Islamic State. Within 24 hours, Turkey’s Defense Minister Fikri Isik demanded Kurdish forces withdraw from Jarablus. He stated that Turkey had every right to invade Syria and demanded Kurdish forces “move to the east of the Euphrates” stating “They have not yet withdrawn but we are watching and monitoring whether they will withdraw. Turkey will be following, moment by moment,” warning that “If this withdrawal doesn’t happen, Turkey has every right to intervene.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to claim Operation Euphrates Shield is to combat terror, specifically the Islamic State. At the beginning of the military operation he stated that “If the world does not reach an agreement against on terrorism then everyone is responsible for the consequences… a unified fight is a must. Daesh [Islamic State] has nothing to do with Islam. On the contrary, it is the biggest trouble for Islam in this century.”
The Turkish Army has been attacking Islamic State targets while targeting the Syrian Democratic Forces, which includes the YPG, claiming that the Kurdish forces have been a “provocation” and that the “Kurdish militia” has ties to the PKK (Kurdish Worker’s Party), which is banned in Turkey.