The risk of ISIS gaining control over Europe has NATO concerned following the killing of a Turkish soldier in a firefight across the Syrian border.
With ISIS controlling the 900 km border between Syria and Turkey, fears that the Syrian conflict will spill into Europe are justified following this latest attack.
Earlier today it emerged a prominent Turkish journalist was fired from his newspaper over a tweet which suggested President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was responsible for Monday’s suicide bombing.
Kadri Gursel had tweeted it was “shameful” that world leaders were offering condolences to the “number one cause of IS terrorism”.
Speaking about today’s firefight, a Turkish official said: “Turkish soldiers returned fire after shots came from the Syrian side of the border, from the region where Islamic State militants are.”
He added that, in line with rules of engagement, four tanks returned fire after militants fired on them.
The army said one sergeant had been killed and two others wounded. One ISIS militant had been killed, and Turkish forces had later retrieved his body and rifle.
Another Turkish official said fighter jets had been scrambled to the Syrian border, although Turkish jets regularly patrol the frontier with Syria.
Rami Abdulrahman, founder of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) which tracks the conflict in Syria through a network of sources on the ground, gave a different account.
He said the clashes erupted when two Syrian civilians tried to cross into Turkey and the army opened fire, killing one of them, an elderly man.
ISIS then returned fire and two of their militants were killed, he said.
The Turkish army was not immediately available to comment.
Local media said the fighting was close to the village of Elbeyli, east of Kilis, and an area where the armed forces have sent reinforcements in recent weeks.
The skirmish came a day after US President Barack Obama and President Erdogan agreed to work together to stem the flow of foreign fighters and secure the border.
This evening White House officials confirmed Ankara has agreed to allow the US military to launch air strikes against Islamic State for the first time from its Incirlik base near Adana in the south of Turkey.
Turkey has repeatedly said it does not want to mount a unilateral incursion into Syria, but will do what is necessary to protect its border. Around half of the armoured vehicles that patrol Turkey’s borders are now along the Syrian frontier.
The clashes were the latest in a wave of violence, with Monday’s Suruc bombing enraging Turkey’s Kurdish minority, many of whom suspect the government of tacitly backing ISIS in Syria against Kurdish forces, something Ankara strongly denies.
On Wednesday two police officers were killed in a town on the Syrian border and militants from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) claimed responsibility.
Turkey has been negotiating an end to the PKK’s 30-year-old campaign for autonomy for Turkey’s estimated 14million Kurds and is worried about its growing influence in war-torn Syria as it fears emergence of an independent Kurdish state embracing parts of Iraq, Syria and Turkey.
Violence has also spread beyond the Kurdish southeast.
In Istanbul, the PKK’s youth wing claimed responsibility for the murder of a shopkeeper who the militants said belonged to ISIS, the Hurriyet newspaper said.
The Turkish military reported a series of other attacks by the PKK on Wednesday, though no casualties were reported.
In the eastern province of Tunceli rebels opened fire on a military base, triggering a brief clash. In Van, near the Iranian border, militants set fire to trucks and opened fire on troops, the military said in a statement.
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