Turkey launches deadly strikes on ISIS positions in Syria
ANKARA - Turkish artillery have launched deadly strikes on Islamic State (ISIS) positions in Syria, while drones that took off from an air base in southern Turkey also pounded the jihadists, state media said Tuesday.
The strikes were in response to repeated rocket fire by ISIS jihadists inside Syria on the Turkish border region of Kilis that has killed 18 people inside Turkey since the start of the year.
The state-run Anatolia news agency reported that a total of 63 ISIS members were killed in the drone and artillery strikes but it was not immediately possible to verify the figures.
Turkish artillery howitzers struck ISIS positions, killing 34 ISIS extremists, the report said.
Four drones took off from Turkey's Incirlik air base, used by the US-led international coalition for air raids on the ISIS group, killing 29 extremists, Anatolia said.
The report did not specify which country the drones belonged to, saying they were part of the international coalition against ISIS. The drones struck some ISIS vehicles as well as five arms storage pits, it added.
Turkey's NATO allies have sometimes lamented that Ankara could do more in the fight against ISIS but Turkey appears to have stepped up efforts in the last weeks after a string of attacks on its soil.
A car bomb on Sunday struck the Turkish city of Gaziantep, a major refugee hub near the Syrian border, killing at least two policemen and wounding 22 people.
Turkish media reported that investigators suspect ISIS, which still controls territory in Syria on the other side of the border, of carrying out the attack.
Turkey, which has been hit by a series of deadly suicide and car bombings, several of which have been blamed on ISIS, began air strikes against the group in Syria last summer.