Turkish soldier killed, another missing on border with ISIL territory in Syria
DHA photoA Turkish soldier died and another was missing on Sept.1 following cross-border fire from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) held territory in neighboring Syria, local officials said.
They told Reuters that a third soldier was lightly wounded in the incident on Sept. 1 in the southeastern province of Kilis, abutting territory controlled by the militants for months.
"One Turkish soldier is missing, and we're trying to find out where he is," an official told Reuters. The governor of Kilis, Suleyman Tapsiz, told journalists outside Kilis hospital that one soldier had died and another was unaccounted for.
Turkey has been a reluctant partner in the fight against ISIL, but in July stepped up its involvement, launching air strikes and opening its air bases to the U.S.-led coalition.
The missing serviceman raised the specter of another possible hostage scenario involving Turkish citizens. Last year the jihadists seized 46 Turkish citizens in the Iraqi city of Mosul.
The hostages were released unharmed after more than three months, but fears for their fate were seen as a key reason for Ankara's reticence to engage in anti-ISIL operations.
Turkey has a 900-km (558-mile)-long border with Syria and has borne the brunt of the refugee crisis sparked by the Syrian civil war, hosting around 2 million people who have fled the fighting.
Diplomats say Ankara's decision to launch attacks against ISIL has increased the risk of reprisals.
Turkey's security headache has further worsened since the July collapse of a ceasefire with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), sparking a wave of tit-for-tat attacks across eastern Turkey that have killed hundreds of people.
On Sept. 1, a doctor and a policeman were killed in separate PKK attacks. PKK militants also launched an attack against a military base in Şırnak province, wounding at least two soldiers, according to state-run Anadolu Agency.