Are days of Daesh in Syria counted?
Turkey's armed units started a ground operation against Daesh in northern Syria. Turkish army backed by the Syrian opposition forces launched a cross-border operation named Euphrates Shield to clear the Syrian border town of Jarablus from Daesh.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said today that Turkey has launched an operation against the Daesh terrorist group and Syrian Kurds in order to put an end to attacks on its borders, Reuters reports.
"This morning at 4 am an operation started in northern Syria against Daesh which constantly threaten our country," Erdogan said, adding that Turkey will not tolerate criminals at its borders and will eliminate all the threats the country is facing, Trend reports with reference to the channel TRT Haber.
At least 63 Daesh targets were hit by 224 strikes from heavy artillery and multiple-launch rocket systems during the initial phase of Turkey’s military operation.
The Turkish Air Force's F-16 jets struck 12 Daesh targets, and artillery hit some 70 Daesh targets. The army is currently continuing operation in Jarablus. Turkish Armed Forces are using howitzers and rocket launchers of volley fire. Military sources, however, do not call these Turkey's actions as a ground operation and say only about limited support for the Syrian forces fighting against Daesh.
Turkish authorities evacuated residents from the Turkish border town of Karkamis and six other villages as a precaution after the operation in Jarablus, the head of Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkey, Efkan Ala, said.
The minister noted that his country's operation in Jarablus is Turkey’s “most legitimate right”.
"Turkey is working together with coalition and moderate opposition and aims aim to preserve Syria's territorial integrity," Ala said, expressing hope that the threat will be neutralized in the near future.
A military observer of the TASS news agency, retired Colonel Viktor Litovkin, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, stressed that the effectiveness of Turkey's participation in active fight against Daesh will depend on the real goals of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Syria. "It is important to understand how sincere Ankara's intention to put an end to Daesh, which it has supported for a long time, including by reserves and ammunition. Perhaps the true purpose of the ground operation is the fight against Kurds, which want to create their own state on the borders of Turkey, Syria and Iraq. At least, Erdogan refused to overthrow Bashar al-Assad, at least until the elections in Syria," he said.
The expert admitted that Turkey has began the operation in coordination with Russia. "I think the talks between Putin and Erdogan on the subject could be held and Russia doesn't mind the Turkish army carrying out an operation against Daesh," Viktor Litovkin called on.
"At least, the Turkish army should cooperate with the Syrian government army, or at least with the Syrian free army in the fight against Daesh, then with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, with the Hezbollah. A ground coalition against Daesh backed by the Russian and the US aviation should be created. Then, if there is a decisive and coordinated fight against terrorist organizations we can expect a success. But there is no such coalition yet," the military observer of the TASS news agency noted.