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3 Turkish soldiers killed in Syrian regime airstrike

Deaths initially blamed on Islamic State; separate car bombing in south Turkey kills 2

A fireman tries to extinguish burning cars cars after an explosion on November 24, 2016 in Adana, Turkey, in which two people were killed and 16 wounded. (AFP PHOTO/IHLAS NEWS AGENCY)
A fireman tries to extinguish burning cars cars after an explosion on November 24, 2016 in Adana, Turkey, in which two people were killed and 16 wounded. (AFP PHOTO/IHLAS NEWS AGENCY)

The Turkish army blamed the Syrian regime for an airstrike on Thursday in northern Syria that killed three soldiers and wounded 10, it said in a statement.

“In the airstrike assessed to have been by Syrian regime forces, three of our heroic soldiers were killed and 10 soldiers wounded, one seriously,” it said in a statement on its website,

The army said in the strike took place at 3:30 am in the Al-Bab region. Turkish media reported earlier that the attack was by Islamic State (IS) jihadists.

Turkey on August 24 launched an unprecedented operation inside Syria dubbed “Euphrates Shield” in support of Syrian opposition fighters to push IS jihadists from its border and stop the advance of Syrian Kurdish militia.

The report did not specify when the attack took place but said it took place on the 93rd day of the operation.

Turkish Army tanks driving to the Syrian Turkish border town of Jarabulus, August 25, 2016. (AFP/BULENT KILIC)
Turkish Army tanks driving to the Syrian Turkish border town of Jarabulus, August 25, 2016. (AFP/BULENT KILIC)

Pro-Ankara opposition rebels supported by Turkish troops have liberated Jarablus, Al-Rai and Daniq from IS jihadists, without much resistance, since the operation began.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week said the rebels were pushing forward with the aim of taking Al-Bab from the jihadists.

“We reached Al-Bab right now and besieged it from the west,” the president said in a speech Tuesday.

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Deadly car bomb in southern Turkey

 

Across the border in Turkey, two people were killed and 16 wounded on Thursday in a car bomb explosion outside a local government building in the southern Turkish city of Adana, officials said.

The bomb exploded in the car park of the governor’s office for the Adana region, close to the vehicle entrance, the governorate said in a statement.

The explosion sparked a fire, and a cloud of dark smoke spewed into the sky.

The force of the blast caused damage to the governorate itself, the state-run Anadolu news agency said, describing the blast as a “terror attack.”

“Two people were killed and 16 were wounded,” the governor of Adana, Mahmut Demirtas, was quoted as saying by Anadolu.

“A vehicle blew up at 8:05 am at a parking lot next to the entrance of the governor’s office,” Demirtas said.

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The attack is believed to have been carried out by a woman, the governor said, without providing further details of the nature of the blast.

There was no immediate indication who could be behind the latest attack.

As has been the case with previous attacks, the Turkish authorities immediately slapped a broadcast ban on footage of the blast.

With a population of almost two million, Adana is one of Turkey’s largest cities, lying around 100 kilometers (60 miles) from the Syrian border.

People walk in Ankara on March 15, 2016 past the site of a suicide car bombing on March 13 that left 35 dead. (AFP/Adem Altan)
People walk in Ankara on March 15, 2016 past the site of a suicide car bombing on March 13 that left 35 dead. (AFP/Adem Altan)

Turkey has already been hit by a bloody year of militant attacks in its two biggest cities of Istanbul and Ankara that have left dozens of people dead and put the country on a high security alert.

Kurdish militants have twice struck in Ankara in deadly attacks, while suspected IS suicide bombers have hit Istanbul on three occasions.

The country is also still reeling from a failed July 15 coup blamed on the US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen that has been followed by a relentless purge of his supporters from all state institutions.

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