Military, intel chiefs visit city by Syria border after ISIL shellings
AA photoThe chief of general staff of the Turkish Armed Forces and the country’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT) head carried out inspections on April 13 in the southern province of Kilis, which had been struck by rocket fire from Syria for three consecutive days, as Turkey’s defense minister, who also visited the city near the Syrian border, said 362 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants had been killed in cross-border fire.
Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz, Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and MİT chief Hakan Fidan examined the border region from above and observed military units in the area, accompanied by generals and MİT officials.
They later visited the Kilis Governor’s Office, meeting Kilis Gov. Süleyman Tapsız and other officials.
Earlier on April 13, five rocket projectiles fired from Syria landed in the province but no casualties were reported. Security forces said Turkish artillery responded to the fire by shelling targeted positions within the rules of engagement.
It marked the third such incident in the province in the past three days.
On April 12, two people were killed and six were wounded when two rocket projectiles fired from Syria landed in Kilis, less than one day after multiple rockets hit the province.
Three rocket projectiles fired from a region under ISIL control in Syria had landed in Kilis on April 11, wounding 12.
Outraged locals rallied April 11 in front of the Kilis Governor’s Office to demand greater security measures, as the conflict in Syria continued to have spillover effects.
Riot police were dispatched to the area as locals demanded additional security measures to guard against rockets from across the border.
Meanwhile, a total of 362 ISIL militants were killed in operations targeting the jihadist group’s positions in Syria, Yılmaz said, adding that 146 ISIL targets had been shelled by Turkish artillery.
Previously, four people had been killed and another four were wounded in two separate incidents on Jan. 18 and March 8, when rocket projectiles fired from Bab hit a Kilis school and neighborhood.
In his statements following the March 8 attack, Kilis Mayor Hasan Kara said civilians were being targeted by ISIL and urged citizens to remain in their houses or workplaces and avoid crowded areas.
A deputy head of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in February filed an application to the Norwegian Nobel Committee to nominate Kilis for the Nobel Peace Prize, praising the province for hosting as many Syrians as its total population.