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Turkey Renews Airstrikes Against IS in Syria

This file photo taken around 5 kilometers west from the Turkish Syrian border city of Karkamis in the southern region of Gaziantep, on August 25, 2016, shows Turkish Army tanks driving to the Syrian Turkish border town of Jarablus.This file photo taken around 5 kilometers west from the Turkish Syrian border city of Karkamis in the southern region of Gaziantep, on August 25, 2016, shows Turkish Army tanks driving to the Syrian Turkish border town of Jarablus.

Turkey renewed airstrikes against the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group in Syria on Friday, extending operations along a 90-km corridor near the Turkish border, which Ankara says it is clearing of militants and protecting from Kurdish militia expansion.

The Turkish military said its warplanes had bombed three sites around the Syrian settlements of Arab Ezza and al-Ghundura, west of Jarablus, roughly in the center of the 90-km stretch of territory that Turkey says it aims to clear, Reuters reported.

Turkey’s 10-day-old offensive, its first major incursion into Syria since the war started five years ago, has alarmed the West.

The United States has voiced concerns about Turkish strikes on Kurdish-aligned groups that Washington has backed in its battle against IS. Germany said it did not want to see a lasting Turkish presence in an already tangled conflict.

Turkey has said it has no plans to stay in Syria and simply aims to protect its frontier from the militant group and the Kurdish YPG militia, which it sees as an extension of the outlawed Kurdish PKK group fighting an insurgency on Turkish soil.

“Nobody can expect us to allow a terror corridor on our southern border,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a news conference.

Washington says Turkish action aimed at the YPG, part of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces coalition, risked undermining the broader goal of ridding Syria of IS, which has attacked western and Turkish targets.

Turkish forces and their Syrian allies began the Aug. 24 offensive by seizing Jarablus, a Syrian frontier town, from IS, before turning their sights on what the army said were YPG positions. The YPG denied they were there.

Erdogan said the Turkish operation dubbed “Euphrates Shield” had been successful in clearing IS and Kurdish YPG from a 400-sq-km area.

Financialtribune.com