Free Syrian Army (FSA) backed by Turkey have taken control of the Syrian town of Jarablus from Daesh terrorists to prevent, Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Işik said.
In an interview with Turkey's NTV channel on Thursday, the minister also said Turkish-backed FSA forces were "cleansing" Jarabulus of Daesh, who had controlled the strategic town.
FSA backed by Turkish special forces, tanks and warplanes entered one of Daesh's last strongholds on the Turkish-Syrian border on Wednesday, in Turkey's first major U.S.-backed incursion into its southern neighbour.
Turkey to do 'what is necessary' amid Syria operation
Turkey will do "what is necessary" for its own citizens and the Syrian people, Health Minister Recep Akdag said Thursday. Speaking at Anadolu Agency's Editors' Desk, the minister said the Turkish military's Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria had been "very successful". "Turkey, as a mighty country in the region, will of course do what is necessary for its citizens and the Syrian people," Akdag said. The operation was launched early Wednesday when artillery and airstrikes were followed by Turkish tanks crossing the border to target Daesh in support of Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters. Akdag said being so close to Turkey's border, Daesh posed a "great danger" to the country. "Of course, we have to protect our borders against the attacks of terrorist groups," Akdag said. Akdag said a number of injured FSA members were taken to hospitals in Turkey. He added there were no casualties from the Turkish army. Three FSA members were taken early Thursday to Kilis Hospital in Turkey after they were injured in a clash in the northern Syrian city of Jarabulus, a health source told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity. The operation is in line with the country's right to self-defense borne out of international treaties and a mandate given to Turkey's armed forces by parliament in 2014, which was extended for another year in Sep. 2015. Since January, rocket attacks on the Turkish province of Kilis from Daesh-held territory in Syria have killed at least 21 people while terrorist attacks in Gaziantep blamed on Daesh include Saturday's suicide bombing of a wedding that killed 54 and a car bomb attack in May that martyred two police officers.
PYD retreats from positions west of Euphrates, US says
PYD forces have begun their withdrawal from territory to the west of the River Euphrates following the Turkey-backed operation in northern Syria, a Turkish diplomatic source cited U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as saying on Thursday.The source said Kerry had told Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in a telephone call Thursday morning that PYD units were moving to the east of the river.Ankara has long insisted that the PYD and its military wing, the YPG, should not retain a presence west of the Euphrates. The group -- the Syrian affiliate of the PKK, which has waged war on Turkey for 32 years -- had established a foothold in the region after helping capture the city of Manbij from Daesh earlier this month.Kerry's conversation with Cavusoglu came after Turkey helped the Free Syrian Army (FSA) liberate Jarabulus from Daesh on Wednesday.The top U.S. diplomat said the PYD was in the process of pulling back to the east of the Euphrates and underlined Washington's ongoing cooperation with Ankara over Syria.During a visit to the Turkish capital on Wednesday, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden pledged the PYD would retreat or the U.S. would sever ties with the group, which is called a terrorist organization by Turkey.Operation Euphrates Shield was launched early Wednesday and by evening the FSA -- backed by Turkish tanks, artillery and air power, as well as aircraft from the U.S.-led anti-Daesh coalition -- had taken the city, which lies around a kilometer (mile) from the Turkish border.More Turkish tanks enter Syria in push against Daesh Syria's Jerabulus must be cleared of PYD: Turkish PM
More Turkish tanks enter Syria in push against Daesh
At least nine more Turkish tanks entered northern Syria on Thursday as part of an operation aimed at driving Daesh out of the area around Jarabulus. A senior Turkish official said there were now more than 20 Turkish tanks inside Syria and that additional tanks and construction machinery would be sent in as required.The deployments are part of "Operation Euphrates Shield", in which Free Syrian Army backed by Turkish special forces, tanks and warplanes on Wednesday entered Jarabulus, one of Daesh's last strongholds on the Turkish-Syrian border, in Turkey's first major U.S.-backed incursion into its southern neighbour.Daesh withdraws from Jarabulus Turkey-backed opposition forces enter Daesh's stronghold Video: Turkish tanks enter to Jarabulus with a janissary band