Turkish tanks reportedly enter Syria for second consecutive day; Defense Minister warns Kurdish forces to withdraw from region
Turkey continued to deploy tanks into Syria on Thursday morning following its invasion into Syria on Wednesday morning.
According to reports, ten tanks entered into Syria Thursday into and around Jarabulus in continued fighting in what Turkish officials have reported to be military efforts to eradicate the Islamic State from the region. The excursion is also reported to combat Kurdish forces in the Jarabulus region across the Euphrates.
On Thursday morning, Defense Minister Fikri Isik claimed that Turkey has every right to invade Syria and demanded Kurdish forces “move to the east of the Euphrates” stating “They have not yet withdrawn but we are watching and monitoring whether they will withdraw. Turkey will be following, moment by moment,” warning that “If this withdrawal doesn’t happen, Turkey has every right to intervene.”
On Thursday, a reported 20 Turkish tanks entered Turkey supported by around 500 soldiers of the Free Syrian Army. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed the attack was to take the fight against the Islamic State into Turkey’s own hands, stating “The attacks that targeted our country from Syria have come to such a level that leaves us no choice but to solve this problem immediately.” The military excursion comes following a suicide bombing in Gaziantep, Turkey that killed 54.
Erdogan stated that “If the world does not reach an agreement against on terrorism then everyone is responsible for the consequences” and that “a unified fight is a must.” Following a meeting with Vice Prsident Joe Biden in Ankara on Wednesday, Erdogan stated that Whether Daesh [Islamic State], the PKK, the PYD or FETO- all are terrorists in our view… We cannot make distinctions [between] bad terrorists, good terrorists. Terrorists are terrorists.”