30-11-2021 08:49 AM Jerusalem Timing

Turkey Says Syria Border Region Must Be ’Cleansed’ of ISIL Terrorists

Turkey Says Syria Border Region Must Be ’Cleansed’ of ISIL Terrorists

Turkey said on Monday ISIL terrorists must be totally pushed out of the Syrian border region, after a weekend suicide bombing in the city of Gaziantep blamed on the group left at least 54 dead.

Turkey FM Turkey said on Monday ISIL terrorists must be totally pushed out of the Syrian border region, after a weekend suicide bombing in the city of Gaziantep blamed on the group left at least 54 dead.

"Our border must be completely cleansed from ISIL," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in televised remarks.

"It is our most natural right to fight at home and abroad against such a terrorist organization."

A child suicide bomber, aged "between 12 and 14," is suspected of carrying out the attack in the southeastern city of Gaziantep near the Syrian border late on Saturday on the orders of ISIL terrorists, according to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Cavusoglu said Monday Turkey has already taken an "active" role in the fight against ISIL, allowing coalition forces to use a key base in the southern part of the country for air raids on the extremist group.

"We will fight ISIL to the end and continue to support countries and forces fighting them," he added, without giving further details.

Cavusoglu said Turkey was a "prime target of ISIL" because the government had dried up the group's resources of foreign terrorist fighters, placing an entry ban on 55,000 members and deporting around 4,000 suspects.

"In this sense we have dealt the biggest blow to ISIL," he said.

The foreign minister said Turkey and Erdogan played a key role in defeating the ideology of ISIL, adding: "Therefore, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is their number-one target."

Turkey was long accused of turning a blind eye to or even abetting the rise of ISIL in Syria, claims it vehemently denies.

However Western states say Ankara has begun to move strongly against the group and seal its borders to terrorist traffic after the attacks blamed on ISIL on its soil this year.