Turkey targets ISIL rocket launchers in northern Syria

Turkey targets ISIL rocket launchers in northern Syria

Turkey targets ISIL rocket launchers in northern Syria

AA Photo

The Turkish army hit a number of van-style rocket launchers used by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) with 40 artillery strikes it conducted in northern Syria in February.

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) hit ISIL targets in Aleppo’s north including van-style rocket launchers, bases and weaponry sites with around 40 strikes conducted by surface-to-surface missile launchers on Feb. 29, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported on March 8.

Over the first two months of this year, 554 suspected members of the jihadist group have been detained and 98 others have been arrested in counterterrorism operations conducted by police officers and gendarmerie forces across Turkey, the agency said, adding that a large number of documents related to the militant group along with weapons and ammunition were seized over the period.

In January, 354 suspected ISIL members were detained, and 69 of them were arrested on terrorism charges in multiple provinces, namely Istanbul, Ankara, the southeastern provinces of Gaziantep, Kilis, Diyarbakır, Adıyaman and Şanlıurfa, the southern provinces of Mersin, Adana, Kahramanmaraş and Osmaniye, the eastern province of Erzurum and Elazığ, the northwestern provinces of Bursa, Yalova and Kocaeli, the western province of Afyon and the Central Anatolian province of Konya.

In February, seven suspected ISIL members were detained in Kilis. Six others, including two foreign nationals, were detained in the southeastern province as they attempted to infiltrate Turkey from Syria.

In Gaziantep over the last month, nine foreign nationals suspected to be ISIL members were detained in the Oğuzeli district as they attempted to infiltrate Syria from Turkey. In Gaziantep’s Karkamış district in February, ISIL members from Aleppo’s Jarabulus district opened fire at Turkish security personnel on mine clearance work near the Syrian border. Turkish soldiers responded with fire to the offensive by the jihadist group. Some 178 other suspected ISIL members have been detained across Turkey over the last month.

ISIL was blamed for a bomb attack that killed four people at a rally of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which focuses on the Kurdish issue, in Diyarbakır on June 5, 2015. An ISIL militant also killed 33 people on July 20, 2015, in the southeastern district of Suruç. Later that year, two ISIL militants killed at least 102 people attending a peace rally in Ankara on Oct. 10, 2015, in the deadliest attack in the country’s history.

Another jihadist suicide attack blamed on ISIL took place in Istanbul’s touristic Sultanahmet area on Jan. 12, killing 12 German tourists.