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Turkey says will support operation to free Syria's Jarablus

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (AFP)

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Ankara will support an operation aimed at liberating a Syrian border town from the Takfiri Daesh terrorists.

Cavusoglu told reporters on Tuesday that the offensive to retake Jarablus has been very important for Turkey's security.

"We will provide all kinds of support to the Jarablus operation," the Turkish foreign minister stated.

The top Turkish diplomat said Ankara believes Daesh should not be able to hold any area under its control.

He also promised to help "cleanse" Daesh terrorists from neighboring countries, saying, "We do not want Daesh to exist in Iraq and Syria."

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus has said Turkey is closely monitoring the developments on the Syrian side of the border.

"What we have said, since the beginning, is that having Jarablus or any other city held by IS (Daesh) is unacceptable," the deputy premier said in a live interview with private NTV television.

Turkish media report that tanks and military vehicles have arrived on the border with Syria ahead of the operation.

Turkey has also ordered the evacuation of a town across the border. Police warned residents through loudspeakers to evacuate the town of Karkamis "for safety reasons."

On Tuesday, two mortar shells were fired from Syria toward Karkamis. Three rockets also struck Kilis, another border town.

The Turkish military retaliated both attacks with strikes on Kurdish positions and alleged targets belonging to Daesh inside Syria.

On august 20, a deadly bomb blast targeted a wedding ceremony, killing more than 50 people in the city of Gaziantep. The attack was described as the deadliest in a series of bombings in Turkey this year blamed on Daesh.

Men bend on a coffin as people mourn during a funeral for victims of last night's attack on a wedding party that left 50 dead in Gaziantep in southeastern Turkey near the Syrian border, August 21, 2016. (AFP)

Turkey has long been an opponent of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Ankara is accused of having facilitated entry of militants into the Arab country.

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov voiced concern over the conduct of the Turkish military on the ground and its push for so-called safe zones inside Syria.

"What makes Russia and many others worried is that Turkey is still firing at Syrian territory; and there are still those who demand the establishment of some sort of safe zone in Syria, also the non-stop voices calling for ground action in Syria."

"We believe they are the ones who place their hopes for solving the Syrian crisis on force instead of through political solutions. We believe this will have disastrous outcomes; therefore, these pleas should shop," Lavrov said in Moscow.

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