Turkish soldiers launched an overnight mission into neighboring Syria and evacuated dozens of besieged troops guarding an Ottoman tomb as well as moving the crypt Sunday back to Turkey after ceremonially planting the country’s crescent-and-star flag. Associated Press has more:
The mission, saving Turkish soldiers reportedly stuck for months at the tomb of the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire, saw hundreds of troops backed by tanks cross the border near the frontier town of Kobani once besieged by the Islamic State group.
Turkey was widely criticized for not intervening for months in the Kobani battle, which finally saw Kurdish fighters backed by U.S.-led airstrikes push out the extremists.
We had given the Turkish armed forces a directive to protect our spiritual values and the safety of our armed forces personnel,” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in televised remarks.
Nearly 600 Turkish soldiers on some 100 tanks and armored personnel carriers crossed into Syria on Saturday night, as drones and airplanes flew reconnaissance missions overhead, Davutoglu said Sunday.