Turkey Enters Syria to Evacuate Ottoman Tomb

Turkey Enters Syria to Evacuate Ottoman TombTurkey Enters Syria to Evacuate Ottoman Tomb

Turkey launched an overnight military operation into neighboring Syria to evacuate troops guarding an Ottoman tomb and to move the crypt to a new location, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Sunday.

Davutoglu said nearly 600 troops and 100 tanks and armored personnel carriers were involved in the operation. One group crossed into Syrian territory to reach the tomb, just over the border near the town of Kobane, while a second group took control of an area near the Turkish border where authorities plan to move the tomb, France24 reported.

The troops hoisted the Turkish flag on the future site of the tomb. One soldier was killed in an accident during the operation.

The tomb belongs to Suleyman Shah, the founder of the Ottoman Empire. The tomb, once some 35 km from Turkey on the banks of the Euphrates River, was in Syria’s embattled Aleppo province and is considered Turkish territory.

Some 40 Turkish soldiers once guarded the tomb in Syria, making them a target for the Islamic State militant group and other militants in Syria’s long-running civil war.