Media reports state that two Turkish F-16 fighter jets have attacked several DAESH terrorist organisation targets in northern Syria across the country’s southern province of Kilis, the military campaign successfully killed 50 terrorists, and wounded around 30.
The military campaign came only hours before the Turkish snap elections on Sunday, which is considered highly crucial for the future of Turkey, and the region as a whole.
Six F-16 jets took off from the Incirlik base in southern Turkey, and undertook the strikes between 0900-1400 GMT on Saturday. Eight DAESH targets were successfully destroyed around 5 km inside the Syrian border near the Turkish province of Kilis. The operation was backed up by Turkmen forces on the ground in Syria.
Turkish warplanes hit on Saturday afternoon the DAESH targets which are located in an area around the Harjalah village between Marea and Azez where Turkey and US-led coalition forces have long argued that they are aiming to establish a DAESH-free zone following the Incirlik deal between the allies.
The Turkish air force targeted the area as the fight between DAESH and Syrian opposition groups looms large in the villages of Harjalah, Soran, and Havran near the Turkish border across the Seve village of the Kilis province, according to reports.
DAESH along the Syrian border
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights stated in late August that DAESH had taken over several villages including Harjalah in the area between Marea and Azez and “encircled” the opposition-held district of Marea, citing a DAESH announcement.
Marea is just 20 kilometres (12 miles) away from Turkey’s southern border.
Turkish media previously reported that Turkey and US also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) determining allied military planning in order to clear DAESH forces from an area between Marea and Jarablus in northern Syria. The reports put the length of the area at 98 kilometres.
DAESH is already controlling a zone from Jarablus to Marea along the Turkish border. The group reportedly recently kept attacking the area between Azaz and Mare, which are situated in northwestern Syria controlled by other opposition groups.
Turkey reached a comprehensive agreement with the US government on July 23 to allow its Incirlik Air Base to be used by the US-led coalition forces for air strikes against DAESH, in order to execute a joint action plan for northern Syrian issues.
The agreement has been described as “a game changer” in the fight against DAESH at the time by US officials.
The base is located 100 km (60 miles) from northwest Syrian border and the Turkish airfield will also be used by the US-led coalition forces for air strikes against the group according to the deal.
US-led coalition forces have been doing numerous air strikes against DAESH targets in northern Syria following the Incirlik deal.
Furthermore, Reuters reported on Oct. 30 that the Obama administration decided to deploy A-10 Thunderbolt II bomber jets and F-15 Eagle fighter jets to Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base, following the recent Russian military intervention in Syria.
Russian military intervention in Syria
Russian intervention into the Syrian conflict began with a bombing campaign on the side of the Assad regime on Sept. 30, targeting mostly Syrian opposition-held territories in the country, rather than DAESH. The intervention has been strongly protested by US, Turkey and the NATO alliance.
Russia claims that its intervention in Syria is justified on the grounds that it is fighting against DAESH.
Turkish warplanes reportedly hit DAESH targets in northern Syria at first in late July after Yalcin Nane, a non-commissioned military officer, was killed on July 23 in an attack by DAESH as he was on duty at the border posts in the Elbeyli district of Kilis.
Turkish security forces have recently carried out scores of operations against the DAESH network in several provinces of Turkey, following the deadliest attack in the modern history of the country that took place in the capital city of Ankara on Oct. 10.
Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of Ankara issued an extensive statement on Oct. 28 concerning the Ankara bombings, indicating that the attacks were plotted by the DAESH terrorist organisation and that the suicide bombers received the order to carry out the attack from DAESH members in Syria.