Turkey’s foreign minister on Wednesday said Ankara “has plans” for a joint operation with the United States (US) to end the presence of self-styled Islamic State (IS) militants along any part of its border with Syria.
Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu told the state-run news agency Anatolia that IS militants still had a presence along some of Turkey’s border with northern Syria.
“We have certain plans to put an end to the control that IS is still exercising on a zone of our frontier,” he said.
“These are plans for a joint operation with the US. When these plans are completed, our operations will continue with more and more intensity. You will see this in the days to come.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview with CNN late Tuesday that “we are entering an operation with the Turks” to shut off 98 kilometres of border still not secure from IS.
Their comments come amid growing momentum for coordinated international action against IS after the Paris attacks last week claimed by the extremist Islamist group which killed 129 and injured 350.
IS “is still present in a zone on our border. We will not tolerate it keeping a presence on our border,” said Sinirlioglu.
Turkish security forces on Tuesday killed one suspected IS militant seeking to cross into Turkey from Syria, the army said Wednesday.
Twenty-one people, including nine children, who were part of the group trying to cross the border were detained.
Meanwhile, Turkish police said they detained eight suspected IS members at Istanbul’s main airport who had travelled from Morocco, adding they were planning to sneak into Europe posing as refugees.
Suffocate and destroy
Sinirlioglu did not expand on what the operation would entail but the Hurriyet daily quoted security sources as saying is would involve clearing an area from Mare to Jarablus in northern Syria of IS militants.
It would be conducted by Turkish F-16s and US F-15s from the Turkish base of Incirlik, baacked up by US A-10s to destroy armoured vehicles belonging to IS.