Turkey on Thursday sent more tanks and warplanes across the border into Syria as part of its Operation Euphrates Shield, which aims to defeat the Islamic State group in its stronghold of Jarablus and restrict the spread of Kurdish YPG militia in Northern Syria. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said, “We are determined to clear Daesh [the Islamic State] from the border,” according to Reuters.
Turkey, along with the United States-led International Coalition Air Forces, launched a joint operation on Wednesday, after a bomb attack killed more than 50 people of a wedding party in Gaziantep on Saturday. Turkey holds the extremist group responsible for the carnage.
The government has asked the Kurdish militia to retreat to the east of the Euphrates river within a week, as the group had moved west of the river during a US-backed mission that succeeded in capturing the city of Manbij from the Islamic State group. Turkey's hostility towards the militia, which is a vital component of the Syrian Democratic Forces, has put the West Asian country in an uncomfortable situation with the US as it considers the Kurdish group an ally in the region. The Syrian Democratic Forces is a US-backed alliance.
Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik said, "The Islamic State should be completely cleansed, this is an absolute must. But it's not enough for us...The PYD and the YPG militia should not replace Islamic State there," referring to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, which is a Syrian affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, and the People's Protection Units group.