Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu says Turkey is the prime target of DAESH terrorism but the country is determined to wipe out the group along its Syrian border.

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The Turkish army hit positions held by the DAESH and YPG terrorist groups across the border in Syria on Monday.

According to local reports, DAESH positions were hit by 40 shells fired by the military ahead of an offensive due to be launched by Syrian opposition forces against the terrorist group in the border town of Jarablus.

"The fundamental aim in the latest operation is to open a corridor for moderate rebels," an unnamed Turkish official told Reuters.

The official told also said that the army fired on YPG targets 20 times with artillery at Manbij in northern Syria.

Turkey's official Anadolu Agency reported that two mortar shells fired from the Syrian side of the border hit the town of Karkamis, which is located opposite Jarablus, but no one was hurt.

Security forces subsequently sealed off the area and warned people over loudspeaker to stay at home.

The operations started shortly after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that Turkey's border region with Syria must be totally cleansed of DAESH terrorists.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu

"It is our most natural right to fight at home and abroad against such a terrorist organisation," Çavuşoğlu said at a press conference with his Lithuanian counterpart Linas Linkevicius.

His comments same after a suicide attack at a wedding in Turkey's southern city of Gaziantep on Saturday, which claimed at least 54 lives and wounded dozens of others.

Wednesday's suicide attack was likely to have been carried out by a child aged between 12 and 14 on the orders of DAESH terrorist group, according to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

No one has claimed the responsibility for the attack, but DAESH -which carried out several similar suicide attacks in Turkey- is the prime suspect.

Çavuşoğlu said Turkey has already taken an active role in the fight against DAESH by letting coalition forces use the Incirlik air base in the southern province of Adana.

He said Turkey was always DAESH's first target because the country has prevented the the flow of terrorists from its borders, mainly coming from Western Europe.

He said Turkey has placed an entry ban on 55,000 members and deported around 4,000 suspects.

"In this sense we have dealt the biggest blow to DAESH," he said.

He also said Turkey and President Erdoğan played a key role in defeating the ideology of DAESH.

Turkish Armed Forces have previously carried out several air operations against the group in northern Syria, as well as mortar attacks from border cities.

Security sources claim the suicide attack in Turkey could have been a retaliation by the group for the latest operation carried out by moderate opposition forces in Jarablus in northern Syria.

Asked if Turkey supported the operation, Çavuşoğlu said: "We can back anyone, especially the moderate opposition fighting against DAESH on the ground."

But he made it clear that Ankara would never support terrorist organisations which are trying to legitimise themselves under the guise of fighting against DAESH, referring to the efforts of the PKK-linked YPG.

Despite being on the EU, US and Turkish terror list, the US and other Western countries have been backing the PKK's Syrian affiliate as an ally in the fight against DAESH.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies