Turkey Will Protect Syria No-Fly Zone

Turkey Will Protect Syria No-Fly Zone
Turkey Will Protect Syria No-Fly Zone

Turkish troops could be used to guard a safe zone in Syria near the Turkish border to host refugees fleeing the IS militants if an international agreement to establish such a zone is reached, the Turkish president said.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan turned down allegations in the Western media that his country is reluctant to get fully involved in the fight against the Islamic State.

“We will act together with the [US-led] coalition in terms of military, political and humanitarian support,” the Turkish president told Daily Sabah paper on his way home from the United Nations General Assembly meetings.

The president reminded that, unlike other coalition members, Turkey has common borders with areas in Syria occupied by the IS.

“Parliament will pass a mandate… on October 2, and we will take all necessary precautions to secure our borders, including military engagement,” he said.

Erdogan stressed that “Turkish military alone” will be able to protect the country’s borders from the militants.

Among the “necessary precautions” needed to be taken in order to cope with the IS threat, he named the creation of the safe zone for the refugees.

the President said 1.5 million people have fled from war to our country. We propose the establishment of a safe zone on the Syrian border for these people.

Once the safe zone is set up, it can be secured by establishing “a no fly-zone” and the “military will protect it,” he added.

 Border Crisis

Meanwhile, hundreds of Kurds in Turkey’s south-eastern border with Syria have attempted to break across the fences to enter the besieged town of Kobani.

Around 150,000 Syrian Kurds from the border town of Kobani have been forced to flee to Turkey to escape a siege by IS militants, who have reportedly taken around 70% of the surrounding area.

While Kurdish civilians seek refuge within the safety of Turkey’s borders, hundreds of armed PKK rebels in Turkey have been trying to enter Syria to help their fellow Kurdish YPG rebels fight off the IS onslaught.

It has been reported that some 300 PKK rebels succeeded in entering Syria last week, responding to a call made by jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan, but since then Turkey has increased security along the border to prevent unauthorized crossings.

However, at around midday Saturday, hundreds of supporters of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) rushed the border fences near the Mursitpinar crossing.

Hundreds of Turkish police and armoured vehicles were quickly sent to the scene after the group managed to breach the wire fences, firing tear gas to disperse crowds on both sides of the border.

Some who had managed to jump the fence and enter Kobani were denied entry to Turkey when they tried to return an hour later, as border guards directed them to the Mursitpinar crossing.

However, reports say that some who had managed to cross into Syria from Turkey are still in Kobani.

 Mortars Hit Village

Four mortar shells landed in Turkey near the border with Syria on Saturday, injuring two people, as IS militants clashed with Kurdish forces defending Kobani.

One of the mortars blew a large hole in an empty minibus parked near Tavsanli, a village close to Kobane.

Authorities in the border province of Sanliurfa have blocked the main road to the Syrian border as security worsens in the area, an official at the local governor’s office said.

IS launched a fresh offensive to try to capture Kobani more than a week ago after months of fighting.

The Turkish province of Suruc, which is only 10 kilometers from the Syrian border, has been transformed with the sudden and unprecedented refugee influx over the last week.

Although many of those fleeing the Syrian conflict are members of extended Kurdish families which straddle the border, many others have been forced into living in harsh conditions as they fill mosques, parks and storehouses in the Turkish town.