Turkey has pledged to push jihadi fighters belonging to the so-called "Islamic State" out of the Syrian town of Jarablus near the Turkish border. The announcement came as Turkey evacuated a town caught in crossfire.
Turkish police instructed residents to leave the town of Karkamis near the Syrian border after it was hit by shelling, according to reports on CNN Turk. Minibuses were reportedly being made available for people needing transportation to escape the beleaguered town.
Situated just across the border from the Syrian town of Jarablus, Karkamis was hit by two mortar shells earlier on Tuesday. Turkish military retaliated by returning fire at IS targets in northern Syria.
At least seven people attending a wedding along the Turkish border had died during a suicide attack earlier in the week, in what it believed to be an "Islamic State" (IS) attack.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, meanwhile, promised to give "all kinds of support" to get IS fighters out of the region as reports came in saying that Ankara-backed forces were massing on the border ahead of an impending military operation.
"We will provide all kinds of support to the Jarablus operation," Cavusoglu said, promising to help "cleanse" IS from neighboring countries.
"We do not want Daesh to exist in Iraq and Syria," he told reporters, using the Arabic name for the militant group.
Turkey on Tuesday pounded IS positions in Syria with artillery strikes after a deadly attack near its border killed at least 54 people. Turkish media reported that tanks and armored vehicles amassed on the Syrian border.
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on a Turkish news channel that Turkey was closely monitoring events along the Syrian border, adding that Ankara has views current developments "as a national security matter."
ss/sms (AFP, AP, Reuters)