Last week, a bomb attack ripped through a wedding in Gazientep, a southern Turkish border town adjoining Syria, killing at least 54 people. A majority of the victims were young children. It wasn’t the first DAESH attack on Turkish soil.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan later promised to bring the fight to DAESH in response to the attack, and to secure Turkish borders from the threat of terrorism.
Within Turkey itself, 270 people have died at the hands of DAESH to date.
Turkey has endured several DAESH terrorist attacks in recent years and its armed forces have carried out several operations against the terrorist group in northern Syria in the past as well.
On Wednesday morning, Turkish Armed Forces launched Operation Euphrates Shield to protect its borders, defeat the group and secure the Turkish town of Karkamis, adjoining Syria, from DAESH.
This is the first official operation where Turkish Armed Forces have entered Syria by land and air, in coordination with the US-led coalition against DAESH and the internationally recognised Syrian opposition.
The operation aims to secure the town of Jarablus from the terrorist group.
"The Republic of Turkey sees DAESH as a terrorist organisation — this was made clear in 2013,” Turkey’s top general Hulusi Akar said in May, adding that DAESH does not represent Islam or Muslims
If the Syrian town of Jarablus falls, DAESH terrorists will be pushed back from the Turkish border.
Nearly 1,300 DAESH terrorists have been killed by Turkish Armed Forces, Akar has said. The fight in Syria now focuses on a key DAESH stronghold — if recaptured, it would significantly degrade the terror group's capabilities.
DAESH has been one of the key causes of flight of Syrian and Iraqi refugees.
Turkey has become the world’s foremost recipient of refugees — approximately 3 million refugees reside in Turkey. If the operation is successful, securing parts of northern Syria may staunch the tide of refugees into the nation.
Securing northern parts of Syria from DAESH may also lead to a safe space for Syrians, within Syria itself.
The Turkish government says securing the Syrian town of Jarablus would support the territorial integrity of Syria, and prevent the country from falling further into chaos. Most Syrians want to return to their homeland, once it is secure.
Following Turkey’s reconciliation with Russia, the Turkish Armed Forces are now better able to respond to DAESH provocations without fear of repercussions from Moscow, which has tactical oversight over Syrian airspace.
It would appear that the Turkish operation now has the implicit backing or consent of both Russia and the US.