Turkey army chief vows to press on with Syria operation

Offensive against Islamic State and Kurdish forces to continue until borders secured and ‘all terrorists’ routed

A Turkish army tank stationed near the Syrian border, in Suruc, Turkey, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. (AP Photo)
A Turkish army tank stationed near the Syrian border, in Suruc, Turkey, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. (AP Photo)

ISTANBUL, Turkey — Turkey’s top army chief on Monday said the offensive in neighboring Syria would continue until the country’s borders were completely secured and “all terrorists” were routed.

“Our security forces have fought and will continue to fight shoulder-to-shoulder until all terrorists are routed, and our borders are secured,” Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar said in remarks carried by the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Akar spoke after visiting troops in the Turkish border town of Karkamis that lies opposite the Syrian town of Jarabulus which was liberated from Islamic State (IS) militants last month by Ankara-backed Syrian opposition fighters.

On August 24, Turkey launched an ambitious campaign inside Syria dubbed “Euphrates Shield,” sending in tanks and special forces to support opposition fighters in a bid to remove IS jihadists and Kurdish militia forces from its frontier.

Several Turkish soldiers have been killed by IS rocket attacks in northern Syria this month, and Turkey blamed the death of another soldier last month on an attack by Kurdish militiamen.

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