DAMASCUS (AFP) – The Syrian government condemned Wednesday’s Turkish incursion into the Islamic State group-held border district of Jarabulus as a “flagrant violation” of its sovereignty.
The foreign ministry said it “condemns the crossing of the Turkey-Syria border by Turkish tanks and armoured vehicles towards the town of Jarabulus with air cover from the US-led coalition and considers it a flagrant violation of Syrian sovereignty.
The operation — named “Euphrates Shield” — began around 4:00 am (0100 GMT) with Turkish artillery pounding dozens of IS targets around Jarabulus, the Turkish prime minister’s office said.
Turkish tanks and special forces accompanied by pro-Ankara Syrian rebels then rolled across the border in an unprecedented operation to drive IS out of the town from which it has fired rockets into Turkey.
“Syria demands the end of this aggression,” the foreign ministry said.
“Any party conducting a battle against terrorism on Syrian soil must do so in coordination with the Syrian government and the Syrian army who have been fighting this war for five years.
“Chasing out IS and replacing them with terrorist groups backed by Turkey is not fighting terrorism.”
Turkey’s incursion is its first into Syria since February 2015, when hundreds of Turkish troops crossed the border to move the relics of the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire.