Heavy shelling on ISIL in Syria from Turkey
DHA photoThe U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) continued to fire on ISIL targets in Syria’s north on May 2 as Turkish artillery also hit jihadist targets.
Four MQ-1 drones took off from the İncirlik Air Base in the southern province of Adana, from where they flew to northern Syria to strike ISIL targets under the campaign of the anti-ISIL coalition.
Five weapon pits belonging to the jihadist group were destroyed and 29 militants were killed in the airstrikes, according to information and images obtained from the region.
The state-owned Anadolu Agency said the strikes took out multiple rocket launchers and gun positions.
The air strikes were informed by intelligence gathered by the Turkish army, Doğan news agency reported.
The airstrikes came after ISIL fired three rockets on the southeastern border province of Kilis early on May 1.
The Turkish army shared the intelligence gathered from Syria’s north with the U.S.-led coalition and an operation was launched, Doğan News Agency reported.
Also midday on May 1, ISIL targets across from Kilis in Syria were hit by howitzers, reportedly resulting in the deaths of 25 militants. Six vehicles belonging to the militants were also destroyed.
The Turkish army also fired howitzers at ISIL positions early on May 1, killing nine militants, making the total number of militants killed by howitzers 34, Anadolu Agency reported.
The total number of ISIL militants killed in two days is 63, Turkish authorities claimed.
The U.S.-led coalition also hit ISIL targets on May 1 and a bomb factory belonging to the militants were destroyed in the Azaz district in northern Syria.
Two ISIL militants were killed as a result of the air strike and many others were trapped in the building that was hit.
Turkey has been hit by a series of rocket attacks by ISIL from Syria since mid-January. In Kilis alone, 19 people have been killed and many others have been wounded in such attacks in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, a third victim of an April 24 rocket attack on the Turkish border city of Kilis died May 2, a hospital source told state-run Anadolu Agency.
İsmail Ufak, 27, died in Kilis State Hospital, the source said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to media.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has recently demanded that the U.S. Army use its unmanned aerial vehicles loaded with Hellfire missiles more effectively against ISIL.
Ankara also demanded the deployment of High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) rocket launchers at Turkey’s border with Syria, according to strategies suggested by Turkey.
According to Turkish sources, such moves would push ISIL militants southwards, leaving the border province of Kilis out of battery ranges.
The Foreign Ministry has also demanded raising awareness on the Kilis issue by increasing dialogue with the U.S. Department of State, as previous predator hits have missed ISIL targets.
There are currently four predators and 12 A-10 bomber aircraft at the İncirlik Air Base.