Turkey’s cabinet agrees on four-point plan for under-fire Kilis, says deputy PM
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
AA photoThe cabinet has agreed on a “four-point plan” for the southeastern border province of Kilis, where 17 people have been killed by a total of 46 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) rockets in recent days, according to Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş.
“Under the chairmanship of our prime minister, our relevant ministers, top security officials, our Chief of Staff, the MİT [National Intelligence Organization], and other relevant bureaucrats held a long meeting to discuss measures that need to be taken after recent incidents in Kilis,” Kurtulmuş told reporters late on April 25.
The participants agreed on a four-point plan that foresees swiftly implemented military and economic measures alongside additional healthcare services and psychological assistance, he said.
Kurtulmuş said Turkey will ramp up its military presence along the border with Syria and increase its cross-border surveillance capabilities by deploying additional drones and other vehicles.
“We will therefore know of planned attacks on Kilis, on Turkey, in advance,” he said, stressing that ISIL’s Katyusha rockets are fired from trucks that are not stationed at fixed spots, making them difficult to locate and destroy.
“[The army] retaliates as soon as such movable rockets are detected. It destroys DAESH [ISIL] positions promptly, but as these are different from stationed positions it is almost impossible to target them immediately,” he added.
The economic measures agreed by the cabinet consist of compensating for the economic losses of tradesmen whose stores or workplaces have sustained damage due to rockets from across the border. Accordingly, the Prime Ministry will pay 10 million liras to the Kilis Governor’s Office in two installments to this end.
In terms of healthcare and psychological assistance, Kurtulmuş said personnel from the Family and Social Affairs Ministry will provide social support for local traumatized civilians, while a new hospital with a 250 to 300-bed capacity will urgently be built in the province. Armored ambulances will also be introduced to operate at times of crisis.
Turkey has recently been on high alert after being rocked by a series of rocket attacks from ISIL-controlled territories in northern Syria. Kilis shares a 111-kilometer border with the war-torn country, bordering a region controlled by ISIL to the east, the Free Syrian Army in the middle and the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey considers an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), to the west.