Turkey Vows To Battle On After 16 Troops Killed In Syria


Turkey vows to battle on after 16 troops killed in Syria

ISTANBUL, , (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 22nd Dec, 2016 ) - Turkey vowed Thursday to battle "terror" in Syria, a day after 16 Turkish soldiers were killed by jihadists in a battle for a flashpoint town -- Ankara's biggest loss so far in its unprecedented incursion.

The soldiers were killed in a succession of attacks by Islamic State group (IS) jihadists around the Syrian town of Al-Bab on Wednesday that included three suicide car bombings. The heavy toll showed the intensifying battle for the town, which Turkish forces have been seeking to capture for weeks in the biggest test of their four-month incursion into Syria.

Turkish troops entered Syria on August 24 in support of pro-Ankara Syrian rebels, with the aim of ousting IS jihadists as well as Kurdish militia from the border area.

The campaign -- dubbed Euphrates Shield -- was launched as Turkey has been hit by the bloodiest attacks in its modern history, blamed on jihadists and Kurdish militants.

"Yes, maybe we will have to lay martyrs to rest," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a speech in Ankara, confirming the death toll had risen to 16 from 14. "But we are determined to preserve their memory and protect what they left us and continue this struggle," he said.

Turkey, he said, "is engaged in its most serious struggle since the war of independence" that led to the creation of the modern state in 1923.