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Turkey gears up for ‘anti-Daesh’ operations in Syria

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during an event in Ankara, on May 12, 2016. ©AFP

Turkey has threatened to launch unilateral “operations” on Syrian soil allegedly against Daesh terrorists amid long-running speculations on Ankara’s covert plans for a military intervention in the Arab state.  

On Thursday, Turkish President Erdogan said Ankara “is doing all the necessary preparations to clean the other side of the border because of the problems in” Kilis Province near the southeastern frontier with Syria, which has come under several rocket attacks since January.

Erdogan, however, did not provide more details on the preparations.

He added that Turkey has not received enough support from other members of the US-led coalition purportedly fighting Daesh Takfiri militants and stressed, “Let me say it here. We will not hesitate to take needed steps on our own if necessary.”

“We do not believe the sincerity of any country that has not seen rockets falling on our town as if they fell on Moscow, London, Brussels, Washington, Paris or Berlin,” he said.

Since the beginning of this year, around a dozen people have been killed in Daesh rocket attacks in the border town of Kilis.

The comments come amid unconfirmed media reports that Turkey has recently dispatched a military reconnaissance team to the Syrian side of the border.

In this picture taken from the Turkish-Syrian border region near Kilis on May 7, 2016, workers and military personnel work on the construction of a sealed border wall. ©AFP

Earlier this week, a report by the Turkish Yeni Safak newspaper said Ankara had launched a military operation on the Syrian side of the border as part of a plan to establish a buffer zone in Syria.       

Under the plan, the report said, the Turkish military would use artillery shells, guided missiles and mortars to target the militants who carry out rocket attacks on the country.

In recent months, numerous reports have emerged surrounding Turkey’s secret plans for ground operations in Syria.

In February, Russia said it has registered “a growing number of signs of hidden preparation of the Turkish armed forces for active actions on the territory of Syria.”

Ankara, however, rejected Moscow’s report and said “Turkey is part of a coalition, is working with its allies, and will continue to do so.” The US-led alliance have been carrying out air raids on so-called Daesh positions in Syria and Iraq since 2014.

A staunch opponent of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Turkey has long been providing support to Takfiri terror groups operating to topple the government in Damascus.

In May, Turkish daily Cumhuriyet posted a video on its website that purportedly showed trucks belonging to Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) carrying weapons to the terror groups in Syria.

Ankara is also accused of engagement in illegal oil trade with Daesh. Turkey also stands accused of buying oil from Daesh and facilitating the Takfiri terror group’s militant recruitment.

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