Turkish tank units have entered Syria as part of a military operation backed by Turkish and US-led coalition warplanes to clear the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group from the Syrian border town of Jarablus, according to Turkish state media.
Turkish special forces had crossed the border and entered Jarablus early on Wednesday, officials said.
“The operation, which began at around 4am local time (01:00 GMT), is aimed at clearing the Turkish borders of terrorist groups, helping to enhance border security and supporting the territorial integrity of Syria,” Anadolu Agency quoted Turkish officials as saying.
Turkish media said the operation involved artillery and rocket shelling as well as warplanes, before the ground forces, including heavy armoured vehicles, entered Syria towards noon.
So far, Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters backed by Turkey have captured four villages and total of 46 ISIL fighters have been killed in the operation, Dogan news agency said on Wednesday.
Turkish daily Hurriyet reported that Turkish tanks in Syrian territories blocked ISIL’s support routes and Turkish fighter jets along with coalition jets pounded ISIL vehicles headed from the al-Bab region to support ISIL fighters in the Jarablus area.
Meanwhile some 5,000 FSA fighters, including groups from the Sultan Murat Brigade, Sukur al-Jeber, Sham Front and Feylek al-Sham, were reportedly advancing toward central Jarablus.
PYD and ISIL targeted
The operation is targeting ISIL and Syrian Kurdish fighters in northern Syria to end attacks on Turkey’s border, President Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech in the capital Ankara on Wednesday.
“At 4:00 this morning, operations started in the north of Syria against terror groups which constantly threaten our country, like Daesh [the Arabic acronym for ISIL] and the PYD [the Syrian Kurdish group],” he said in a speech in Ankara.
Turkey had pledged on Monday to “completely cleanse” ISIL fighters from its border region after a suicide bomber suspected of links to the group killed 54 people at a Kurdish wedding in the southeastern city of Gaziantep.
Turkey is also concerned about the growing influence of Syrian Kurdish groups along its border, where they have captured large expanses of territory since the start of the Syrian war in 2011.
Turkey sees them as tied to the PKK, which has been waging an armed campaign mainly in the country’s southeast.
“It is hard to conduct this operation without the green light from Moscow, Tehran, Damascus and Washington,” Metin Gurcan, security analyst, told Al Jazeera from Istanbul.
“The open objective in this operation is that Turkey is trying to create an ISIL-free humanitarian zone by clearing Jarablus for possible flow of refugees,” he said.
“The covert objective is another one. The PYD’s recent advances alarmed Ankara. Turkey aims to deny the PYD’s objective of connecting cantons it controls and creating monolithic Kurdish entity.”
The military operation against ISIL comes as Syrian rebels, backed by Turkey, also say they are in the final stages of preparing an assault from Turkish territory on Jarablus, aiming to pre-empt a potential attempt by Syrian Kurdish forces of PYD to take it.
The PYD, a critical part of the US-backed campaign against ISIL, took near-complete control of Hasaka city on Tuesday.
The group already controls chunks of northern Syria where Kurdish groups have established de facto autonomy since the start of the Syria war – a development that has alarmed Turkey.
Turkey’s army and international coalition forces on Wednesday started an operation to drive Islamic State jihadists out of a key Syrian border town, a statement from the Turkish prime minister’s office said.
“The Turkish Armed Forces and the International Coalition Air Forces have launched a military operation aimed at clearing the district of Jarablus of the province of Aleppo from the terrorist organisation Daesh,” it added, using an Arabic acronym for IS group.
The state-run news agency Anadolu said the operation began at around 4 am local time (0100 GMT).
Turkish F-16 jets dropped bombs on IS targets in Jarablus — the first such assault since a November crisis with Russia sparked by the downing of one of Moscow’s warplanes by the Turkish air force, the private NTV television reported.
Security sources quoted by Turkish television said a small contingent of special forces travelled a few kilometres into Syria to secure the area before a possible operation.
Broadcaster CNN-Turk reported that Turkish artillery hit 63 targets in Syria.
Several mortar rounds from IS-held Jarablus hit the Turkish border town of Karkamis on Tuesday, prompting the army to pound the jihadist positions on Syrian soil with artillery strikes.
Official Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/216865
Today we need to pray for our country for protection over these 37 cities which are planned to have the protests. This is a huge amount of protests just in America but more cities which have not been mention could break out in protest too. If protests go out of control, which seems to be the common thing now, this day could very well trigger martial law on our country! The group known as Black Panthers is calling for firearms to be carried in places where legal during the protests as well. I am one who supports the 2nd amendment 100% but I feel this “call to action” is not a good mix; just a gut feeling. With all honesty, I do pray nothing comes out and these protests are peaceful. Still, we must understand that what ever happens today, bible prophecy must be fulfilled and no one will be able to change that.
I am asking for us all to bind to together and pray for protection over America. Even more, we need to make sure our lives align with the word of God and meet His approval. Jesus Christ is the way and the truth!
Below is the information on Rage Day.
Cities Planned for Protest:
- Phoenix: 5:00PM (EASTLAKE PARK, 1549 E Jefferson St , Phoenix, AZ 85034)
- Tuscon: 5:00PM (CATALINA PARK, 900 N 4th Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85705)
- Little Rock: 6:00PM (OUTSIDE STATE CAPITOL BUILDING, Dr Martin Luther King Jr Dr., Little Rock, AR 72201)
- San Francisco: 4:00PM (CIVIC CENTER PLAZA, 355 Mcallister St, San Francisco, California 94102)
- Oakland: 4:00PM (FRANK OGAWA PLAZA, 1 Frank H Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612)
- Los Angeles: 4:00PM (LEIMERT PLAZA PARK, 4395 Leimert Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90008)
- Denver: 5:00PM (CIVIC CENTER PARK, 100 W 14th Ave Pkwy, Denver, Colorado 80204)
- Washington DC: 7:00PM (OUTSIDE WHITE HOUSE, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500)
- Atlanta: 7:00PM (OLD DECATUR COURTHOUSE, 101 E Court Sq, Decatur, GA 30030)
- Tampa: 7:00PM (OUTSIDE HILLSBOROUGH COURTHOUSE, 800 E Twiggs St, Tampa, FL)
- Orlando: 7:00PM (LAKE EOLA PARK, 195 N Rosalind Ave, Orlando, Florida 32801)
- Miami: 7:00PM (GWEN CHERRY PARK, NW 71 St., Miami, Florida, 33147)
- Chicago: 6:00PM (RICHARD J DALEY CENTER, 50 W Washington St, Chicago, Illinois 60602)
- Des Moines: 6:00PM (IOWA STATE CAPITOL, 1007 E Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50319)
- New Orleans: 6:00PM (LAFAYETTE SQUARE, New Orleans, LA 70130)
- Baltimore: 7:00PM (201 E Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21202)
- Boston: 7:00PM (MASSACHUSETTS STATE HOUSE, 24 Beacon St, Boston, MA 01233)
- Detroit: 7:00PM (Campus Martius Park, Detroit, Michigan 48226)
- Lansing: 7:00PM (STATE CAPITOL BUILDING, Capitol Avenue at Michigan Avenue, Lansing, MI 48933)
- Ann Arbor: 7:00PM (THE DIAG, Burns Park, Ann Arbor, MI 48109)
- Minneapolis: 6:00PM (MINNEAPOLIS URBAN LEAGUE, 2100 Plymouth Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55411
- St. Louis: 6:00PM (GATEWAY ARCH, St. Louis 63102)
- Carson City: 4:00PM (NEVADA STATE CAPITOL BUILDING, 101 N Carson St, Carson City, Nevada 89701)
- Manhattan, NY: 7:00PM (TIMES SQUARE, Manhattan, NY, 10036)
- Newark: 7:00PM (NEWARK CITY HALL, 920 Broad Street, Newark, New Jersey 07102)
- Durham: 7:00PM (200 E. Main St. Durham, North Carolina)
- Columbus: 7:00PM (GOODALE PARK, Columbus, Ohio 43215)
- Cleveland: 7:00PM (CLEVELAND PUBLIC LIBRARY, 325 Superior Ave E, Cleveland, Ohio 44114)
- Portland: 4:00PM (PIONEER COURTHOUSE SQUARE, 701 SW 6th Ave, Portland, Oregon 97204)
- Philadelphia: 7:00PM (LOVE PARK, 1599 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102)
- Pittsburgh: 7:00PM (PITTSBURGH CITY-COUNTY BUILDING, 414 Grant St, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15219)
- Nashville: 6:00PM (801 Broadway Nashville, TN 37203 Estes Kefauver Federal Building)
- Memphis: 6:00PM (Health Sciences Park Memphis, TN)
- Austin: 6:00PM (TEXAS STATE CAPITOL, Outside South Gate-11th and Congress Ave.)
- Salt Lake City: 5:00PM (SALT LAKE CITY COMMUNITY COLLEGE, 4600 S Redwood Rd, Salt Lake City, Utah 84123)
- Seattle: 4:00PM (QUEEN ANNE BAPTIST CHURCH, 2011 1st Ave N, Seattle, Washington 98109)
- Milwaukee: 5:00PM (DINEEN PARK, Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
No claim of responsibility yet for deadly attack in capital as jets strike Kurdish group’s bases in Qandil mountains
Turkey’s air force has hit Kurdish targets in northern Iraq after a car bombing struck the Turkish capital, Ankara, killing at least 37 people and wounding more than 70 others.
The state-run Anadolu news agency said nine F-16s and two F-4 jets on Monday raided 18 positions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), including the Qandil mountains where the group’s leadership is based.
The targets struck consisted of ammunition depots, bunkers and shelters.
Police also carried out raids in the southern city of Adana, detaining suspected PKK members, Anadolu reported.
The private Dogan news agency said at least 36 suspects were taken into custody.
Fifteen suspected Kurdish fighters were also detained in Istanbul, Anadolu said.
Security officials told Reuters news agency on Monday that a female member of PKK was one of two suspeced perpetrators.
A police source said her severed hand had been found 300 metres from the blast site.
The second suspected bomber was a male Turkish citizen with links to PKK, Reuters cited a Turkish security official as saying.
There has not been any claim of responsibility for the bombing.
Sunday’s attack was the second devastating blast to rock Ankara in three weeks.
Witnesses said the blast set vehicles on fire and heavily damaged several buses.
The explosion, which could be heard several miles away, also sent burning debris showering down over an area a few hundred metres from the justice and interior ministries, a top courthouse, and the former office of the prime minister.
“These attacks, which threaten our country’s integrity and our nation’s unity and solidarity, do not weaken our resolve in fighting terrorism but bolster our determination,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a statement.
Local broadcasters reported that an Ankara court ordered a ban on access to Facebook, Twitter and other sites in Turkey after images from the car bombing were shared on social media.
Sunday’s attack comes just three weeks after a suicide car bombing in Ankaratargeted buses carrying military personnel, killing 29 people.
“We know how and when we will respond,” Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey’s prime minister, told Al Jazeera in an interview, referring to the February attack.
“Definitely, those who made this attack against our people will pay the price. But how and when, we will decide. And when it happens, everybody will see that Turkey can respond [to] any challenges and any attack against it.”
A Kurdish armed group, the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), which is an offshoot of the outlawed PKK, claimed responsibility for that attack. TAK says it split from the PKK.Turkey has been fighting on multiple fronts. As part of a US-led coalition, it is battling the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS), which has seized territory in neighbouring Syria and Iraq.
It is also battling the outlawed PKK in its southeast, where a two-and-a-half-year ceasefire collapsed last July, prompting the worst violence since the 1990s.
Turkey sees the unrest in its largely Kurdish southeast as deeply linked to events in northern Syria, where the Kurdish YPG militia had been seizing territory as it fights both ISIL and rebels battling President Bashar al-Assad.
Turkey fears those gains will stir separatist ambitions among its own Kurds and has long argued that the YPG and PKK have close ideological and operational ties.
In its armed campaign in Turkey, the PKK has historically struck directly at the security forces and says it does not target civilians.
ISIL has carried out at least four bomb attacks on Turkey since June 2015, including a suicide bombing which killed 10 German tourists in central Istanbul in January.