Turkey hit 3,000 targets, killed 1,300 ISIL militants
AP photoThe Turkish Armed Forces have killed around 1,300 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in Syria and Iraq since clashes began there, Turkish Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar has stated, while around 3,000 ISIL targets have been hit in the same areas, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“The Turkish Armed Forces have killed almost 1,300 Daesh terrorists in Syria and Iraq and destroyed a great number of weapons, rockets, weapon caches, vehicles, and buildings,” Akar said in an address to the 10th Conference of Balkan Countries’ Chiefs of General Staff in Istanbul on May 11.
Daesh is an Arabic acronym for ISIL.
“The Republic of Turkey sees Daesh as a terrorist organization; this was made clear in 2013,” Akar said, adding that ISIL did not represent Islam or Muslims.
Meanwhile, ISIL has so far suffered around 3,000 losses in Syria and Iraq, Erdoğan said at the same conference in Istanbul on May 11, claiming that “no other country is fighting the jihadist group as much as Turkey.”
Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News, presidential sources elaborated on Erdoğan’s words, saying around 3,000 ISIL targets had been hit so far and that 1,300 ISIL militants had been killed in Syria and Iraq.
“No other country in the world is fighting Daesh in the same way as Turkey. No country has [experienced as many losses as] Turkey in the fight against Daesh,” he said.
Erdoğan said that while countries taking part in the anti-ISIL coalition had not taken any steps or had not conducted the necessary intelligence-sharing to fight ISIL, “Turkey was expected to do everything.”
He also condemned the alleged claims that Turkey had supported the group as “despicable.”
“In fact, during this process, Turkey battled many unfair, ruthless and unfounded accusations,” Erdoğan said.
“The portrayal of Turkey as a country that helps Daesh is – excuse me if this will sound harsh – despicable.”
Ankara, meanwhile, has said it needs more help from Western allies in the anti-ISIL fight, particularly near its border with Syria, where the town of Kilis has been hit for weeks by repeated rocket fire.