Turkey pounds al-Qaeda convoy in northern Syria

Turkey pounds al-Qaeda convoy in northern Syria
Thu Jan 30, 2014 08:42:53

The Turkish armed forces have attacked a convoy of al-Qaeda-linked rebel vehicles in Syria in retaliation for cross-border fire, destroying three vehicles, Turkish media say.

Turkish troops opened fire on the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) positions in northern Syria after a mortar shell fired from Syria landed in Turkish territory during clashes between ISIL and the Free Syrian Army, broadcaster NTV reported on Wednesday.

It said a pick-up truck, a lorry and a bus were destroyed in the Turkish retaliation on Tuesday evening.

There were no reports of casualties and NTV did not say exactly where along the border the attack occurred.

Turkish newspaper Todays Zaman retracted a report that claimed that Turkish fighter jets had hit the ISIL convoy in northern Syria.

The initial report said that Turkish F-16s had struck a number of ISIL vehicles "after militants opened fire on a military outpost" on the Turkey-Syria border on Wednesday.

However, NTV did not mention involvement of the Turkish air force.

Turkish media have cited a two-day escalation in hostilities between the sides, but the Turkish military has only retaliated with tanks and artillery fire.

In December 2013, a Turkish diplomatic source confirmed that Ankara has deported suspected al-Qaeda-affiliated militants seeking to fight in Syria, urging more foreign assistance in tackling the spillover of terrorists fighting in Syria.

Turkey and Iraq said in October that their strained relations will be improved in a bid to defy the spillover of al Qaeda from Syria to their territories.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to reports, Western powers and their regional allies - especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey - are supporting the militants operating inside the country.


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