MESOP 14 MINUTES AGO : Turkey made ground incursion against ISIS in Syria, report claims

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Rudaw – 8 May 2016 – Turkish special forces reportedly entered Syria to carry out a raid against Islamic State (ISIS) rocket-launching positions. The Turkish daily Yeni Safak reported on Sunday that 15-20 Turkish soldiers entered Syria on Saturday and attacked ISIS positions after 10 days of preparation and intelligence gathering.No official statement has been made by the Turkish military.

If the news is confirmed, Saturday’s raid would be the first Turkish ground incursion against ISIS into Syria, and the second non-ISIS related incursion.

In February 2015, 572 Turkish soldiers backed by tanks and armored vehicles briefly entered Syrian territory to evacuate the Tomb of Suleyman Shah, which was located in a Turkish exclave in Syria that they feared would be destroyed by ISIS.ISIS has been launching rocket projectiles at the Turkish border town of Kilis since January, killing a total of 23 people to date. Turkey has frequently retaliated by bombarding ISIS positions with artillery.

Turkey has found it difficult to hit mobile ISIS rocket launchers with artillery bombardments. The US-led anti-ISIS coalition has consequently begun to target the launchers with unmanned drones. Also on Saturday, coalition airstrikes reportedly killed 48 ISIS militants in northern Syria using A-10 and F-16 warplanes.