Breaking: Large Turkish military convoy enters syrian territory [updated]


Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has confirmed news reports
that a group of Turkish armored vehicles, along with nearly 300
soldiers, were sent as reinforcements to guards protecting the Tomb of
Süleyman Şah, grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire, in
northern Syria amid mounting security threats to the small unit there.

Erdoğan
said the military convoy was bringing aid to the military unit
safeguarding the tomb, which has symbolic but critical importance for
Turkey.

The tomb is 30 kilometers from the Turkish border.

[update]
Touching upon reports claiming that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) had
sent a large number of armored vehicles to the Tomb of Süleyman Şah for
deployment near ISIL bases, Erdoğan stated: “Right now, ISIL is not the
issue. The job of our convoy there is to transfer aid to the Tomb of
Süleyman Şah.”

According to reports, six tanks and 12 armored
vehicles have been deployed within 200 meters of ISIL bases, and there
are also claims that ISIL has started to send reinforcements to the
area.

Diplomatic sources have told Today's Zaman that they have
no information on the matter; however, they added that the convoy could
be acting as reinforcements to protect the tomb.

According to
press reports, ISIL forces are about one kilometer from the tomb. Turkey
is following the developments in Syria with great concern. There is a
security crisis due to a lack of power and authority in the area, with
radical groups increasing their terrorist activities in northern Syria.

Turkey
previously stated that its armed forces are maintaining their vigilance
along the Syrian border and have been ready for any contingencies since
the start of the Syrian civil war.

In a leaked voice recording
last month, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, National Intelligence
Organization (MİT) head Hakan Fidan, Foreign Ministry Undersecretary
Feridun Sinirlioğlu and Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler
can allegedly be heard discussing a possible intervention in Syria and
the potential global reaction.

Their conversation appears to
center on a possible operation to secure the Tomb of Süleyman Şah, which
is in an area of northern Syria largely controlled by militant
Islamists.


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