Turkey hits ISIL in Syria, Russia ‘concerned’

Turkey hits ISIL in Syria, Russia ‘concerned’

Turkey hits ISIL in Syria, Russia ‘concerned’

AA photo

As the Turkish army once again responded on May 3 to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) deadly cross-border shelling of its southern province of Kilis, Moscow has expressed “concern” over Turkey’s military action in Syria. 

“Russia is concerned by Turkish shelling of Syria,” Russian Foreign Minister Seregi Lavrov said after a meeting with the United Nation’s envoy on Syria in Moscow. 

“The task of closing the Turkish border with Syria is becoming more urgent,” Lavrov said. 

Six ISIL militants were killed in shelling by the Turkish army after two more rocket projectiles hit the border province of Kilis on May 3. Turkish artillery units responded to the attack by shelling ISIL positions and firing multiple rocket launchers after unmanned aerial vehicles spotted where the rockets were fired - the Bab region of Syria, which ISIL currently controls. 

Militants were killed and two Katyusha rocket positions were destroyed, according to the Turkish army.

One person was wounded in the latest rocket attack from the ISIL-controlled region early on May 3, less than a day after a similar incident killed one and wounded two in the province.

Two Katyusha rockets hit the border province at around 9:40 p.m. One of them hit a house, starting a fire, while the other exploded on an empty field.

A 71-year-old woman on the street, Senem Seyrekoğlu, was wounded as a result of the explosion. She was taken to hospital and is reported to be in good condition.

In the previous incident, an 18-year-old of Syrian origin was killed and three were wounded after ISIL militants fired two Katyusha rockets at Kilis on May 2.

Military sources said a total of 30 ISIL militants were killed and many others were wounded as a result of howitzer and rocket shelling by the Turkish military across the border, responding to the May 2 attacks within the rules of engagement.

With the latest response, the number of ISIL militants killed in Turkey’s responses rose to 58. 

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said during a press briefing after a cabinet meeting on May 2 that some 55 ISIL rockets fell on Kilis, causing 19 deaths and 68 injuries. Seven of the victims were Syrinas in the city, Kurtulmuş added. 

Meanwhile, U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura said in Moscow that a faltering truce in Syria must be “brought back on track.”

As talks kicked off in Moscow, the death toll from rebel shelling of government-held areas of Aleppo, the second largest city in war-hit Syria, climbed to at least 19 people including three children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. 

It said another 80 people were wounded and the death toll was likely to rise due to the serious condition that many were in. 

In televised remarks, de Mistura praised the two-month-old truce brokered by Moscow and Washington as a “remarkable achievement” and said the two global powers should help “all of us to make sure that this is brought back on track.”

For his part, Lavrov said “there was no alternative to a political settlement of the Syrian crisis,” adding that Moscow “highly valued” de Mistura’s efforts to help negotiate an end to a conflict that has killed more than 270,000 people since 2011.

“I am looking forward to a fruitful discussion,” Lavrov said.

The meeting comes after a day of diplomacy in Geneva, where U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry added his weight to efforts to resuscitate the stuttering truce.