AS IT HAPPENED: Turkish military, coalition forces launch 'Euphrates Shield' operation in Jarablus
AA photoThe Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has begun its cross-border “Euphrates Shield” operation against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) early on Aug. 24 with aerial strikes and ground forces backed by strikes from rocket launchers, howitzers and tanks.
Below is the timeline of the operation:
7:50 p.m. Turkey-backed FSA fighters take control of Jarablus, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported. One FSA fighter was killed and 10 were wounded. There were no casualties from the Turkish Army.
7:00 p.m. - Free Syrian Army fighters have seized all government buildings in Jarablus and captured some 50 percent of the town, Doğan News Agency has reported. Meanwhile, Ahmad Othman, commander of the Sultan Mourad rebel group, told AFP from the scene that Jarablus was “completely liberated” from ISIL, adding that its militants had fled towards Al-Bab to the southwest.
6:20 p.m. - Turkey-backed FSA elements have begun to enter central Jarablus, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
6:00 p.m. - Russian Foreign Ministry has said that it is 'deeply worried' by events on Turkish-Syria border, Reuters has reported.
5:52 p.m. - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's meeting with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has begun in the Presidential Palace.
5:30 p.m. - Free Syrian Army fighters backed by Turkish and U.S.-led coalition aerial support reach downtown Jarablus some 12 hours after the operation to clear ISIL from the area began. Most recently capturing the village of Tal Shair south of Jarablus, the fighters’ battle with ISIL militants was ongoing. A Free Syrian Army commander says that ISIL militants were retreating south from Jarablus, CNN Türk reports.
4:57 p.m. - FSA has reached entrance of central Jarablus, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
4:50 p.m. - Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said that Turkey will not allow a new Kurdish formation on its southern border speaking at a joint press meeting with the U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. Yıldırım said the PYD was "the extension of the PKK" and urged Washington to review its position on the issue.
4:42 p.m. - The United States and Turkey will continue to hit ISIL in Syria, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has said during his visit to Ankara. He also stressed that YPG forces should not cross over to the other side of the Euphrates River. Biden said that YPG forces will not be supported by the US if they cross over to the other side of the Euphrates.
4:00 p.m. - Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has described the operation as “a short and results-based operation.”
3:54 p.m. - Presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has tweeted that the aim of the Jarablus operation is to cleanse Turkey's border of "all terrorist elements, including DAESH and the YPG.”
Kalın added that "all necessary steps" will be taken in order to protect Turkey’s border security and Syria’s territorial integrity.
3:50 p.m. - Sources reported that Turkish tanks in Syrian territories have blocked ISIL’s support routes and Turkish F-16s along with coalition jets have pounded ISIL vehicles headed from the al-Bab region to support ISIL militants fighting in the Jarablus area. Meanwhile some 5,000 Free Syrian Army fighters, including groups from the Sultan Murat Brigade, Sukur al-Jeber, Sham Front and Feylek al-Sham, were reportedly advancing toward central Jarablus.
3:35 p.m. - Twenty tanks and nearly 20 armored vehicles are advancing toward Jarablus in the operation, aiming to secure control over a 70-kilometer region.
2:50 p.m. - Free Syrian Army fighters have captured a total of four villages namely, Keklice, Kıvırcık, Elvaniye and Güğüncük as they move in for a major offensive in Jarablus, killing 46 ISIL militants, Doğan News Agency has reported.
2:20 p.m. - The Free Syrian Army has captured the village of Kıvırcık, the second to be taken so far in the anti-ISIL operation in Jarablus, Doğan News Agency has reported. Three wounded members of the Free Syrian Army have been brought to Gaziantep, near the Syrian border, for treatment.
1:58 p.m. - Syrian Foreign Ministry condemns crossing of Turkish tanks into Syria as a breach of sovereignty, Reuters has reported quoting Syrian state TV.
1:47 p.m. - Turkish artillery units are also shelling ISIL positions across the border province of Kilis, Doğan News Agency has reported.
1:17 p.m. - Free Syrian Army fighters have captured Keklice village some three kilometers from the Turkish border and five kilometers west of Jarablus city center. Sources reported that the fighters are preparing for an offensive moving towards the east to central Jarablus.
12:55 p.m. - The Free Syrian Army elements are reportedly three kilometers inside Syrian territory.
12:05 p.m. -The aim of this operation is to sweep ISIL from our borders,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said, adding that Free Syrian Army troops have also crossed the border.
He added that Ankara was cooperating with coalition forces in terms of air support.
Çavuşoğlu also stressed that YPG elements should immediately cross to the east of the Euphrates.
11:50 a.m. - “Syria is the reason why we are exposed to terror both from DAESH and the PYD,” Erdoğan has said.
11:20 a.m. - “Attacks coming from Syria must end,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, adding that such terrorist attacks had paved way for the Jarablus operation.
“We have to solve this issue,” he added.
11:07 a.m. - TSK tanks enter Syrian territory and begin hitting ISIL targets, daily Hürriyet correspondent Uğur Ergan reports.
10:39 a.m. - TSK howitzers and rocket launchers carry out 294 strikes on 81 ISIL targets.
10:30 a.m. - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrives in Ankara on Aug. 24 hours after a joint operation by the Turkish military and the coalition forces launched in the ISIL-held Jarablus region in Syria.
9:27 a.m. - Mortar shells fired across the broder from Jarablus by ISIL militants have dropped onto a empty field in central Karkamış. No casualties are reported.
9:05 a.m. - According to military sources, howitzers have directly hit 70 ISIL targets.
8:36 a.m. - The Doğan News Agency live broadcast shows Turkish tanks approaching the Syrian border and passage opening operations reach an end.
8:07 a.m. - According to Reuters Turkish tanks have begun its strikes on ISIL targets.
7:50 a.m. - According to military sources, 12 ISIL targets have been directly hit.
7:48 a.m. - Doğan News Agency reports that Turkish tanks have arrived at the Syrian border.
7:25 a.m. - Some parts of the border province of Gaziantep, from where the operation was initiated, are declared a special security region.
7:15 a.m. - Military sources deny the claims that ground operations have begun and say operations to open passages through the border were still ongoing.
6:30 a.m. - Jarablus is hit by Turkish Armed Forces.
6:10 a.m. - Turkish F-16 jets carry out another operation on ISIL targets.
6:08 a.m. - For the first time since Nov. 24, 2015, when Turkey downed a Russian jet above Syria, Turkish Armed Forces carry out aerial operations in Syria. They shoot targets that have been designated by ground special forces.
5:55 a.m. - Turkish special forces enter Syria.
5:45 a.m. - Howitzer and rocket launcher attacks conclude. Until this hour some 224 launches were conducted on 63 targets.
4:05 a.m. - TSK begin using construction machines to carry out passages through the Turkish-Syrian border from points that been chosen beforehand.
4:00 a.m. - TSK howitzers and rockets launchers begin to strike at ISIL targets in Jarablus.