WORLD

Turkey Fires At Islamic State Targets Across Syrian Border

Rebels are wrestling to take the area back from militants.

23/08/2016 10:51 PM AEST
Murad Sezer / Reuters
A masked man stands next to an excavator as it digs trenches in the Islamic State-held Syrian town of Jarablus, as they are pictured from the Turkish border town of Karkamis, in Gaziantep province, Turkey August 1, 2015. Karkamis is a Turkish town of 10,500 people, that sits directly opposite the border post. Shut for more than a year, the military sealed the crossing with a breeze block wall a few months ago. Behind it, just inside Syria, the black flag of Islamic State flaps in the breeze. Karkamis lies on the northeastern edge of a rectangle of Syrian territory some 80 km (50 miles) long, controlled by the radical Islamists. The United States and Turkey hope that by sweeping Islamic State from this border zone, they can deprive it of a smuggling route which has seen its ranks swollen with foreign fighters and its coffers boosted by illicit trade. Picture taken August 1, 2015. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
Murad Sezer / Reuters

Turkey’s military returned fire at Islamic State targets in northern Syria on Tuesday, after two mortar shells from Syria hit a Turkish border town, broadcaster NTV said, citing the military.

The military fired 40 shells at four Islamic State targets in Syria, NTV said.

The two mortar shells, which hit the town of Karkamis but did not cause casualties, were apparently fired during clashes between Syrian rebels and Islamic State militants in northern Syria, state-run Anadolu Agency said.

Karkamis neighbors the Syrian town of Jarablus, which Turkish-backed Syrian rebels are preparing to attack and seize from Islamic State, according to a senior rebel official, a move that would frustrate Kurdish hopes to expand there.

The mortar shells hit the garden of a property linked to a mosque in Karkamis after striking power lines, Anadolu said. Security forces subsequently sealed off the area and warned people over loudspeaker to stay at home, it said.

On Monday, Turkey’s military launched howitzer attacks on Islamic State while artillery pounded Kurdish YPG militants in Syria, whom Ankara sees as an extension of its own Kurdish insurgency.

(Reporting by Daren Butler; Editing by David Dolan)

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