Turkey warned Saturday that it would not hesitate to strike back at ISIS jihadists if they attacked Turkish troops stationed at Ankara’s exclave inside Syria.
“We will absolutely not hesitate to respond if something happens there,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul, referring to the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman dynasty Osman I.
The small patch of land inside Syria around the tomb is considered Turkish territory under a 1920s treaty signed between the Turkish authorities and France, who at the time had a mandate on Syria.
“Forty of our soldiers are stationed in this zone, which is Turkish territory,” he said.
“If one so much as touches a hair on the their heads, Turkey with its army will do all that is necessary and everything will change from that moment on,” Erdogan warned.
His warning came just two days after Turkey’s top general issued an unusual message of support for the Turkish troops stationed at the tomb, saying that the army “will be there for you the moment we hear a single word from you.”
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SOURCE: Daily Star
Agence France Presse