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Erdogan: Turkish forces ‘preparing to clear’ Syrian territory across border from Kilis

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that his armed forces are readying to “clear” the frontier on the Syrian side of the border, following back-and-forth fire with Islamic State terrorists.

Erdogan made the announcement on Thursday, alluding to “difficulties in Kilis,” a town that straddles the southern border with a volatile zone in Syria currently controlled by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). He said that Turkish forces are “making necessary preparations” to take action.

The terrorist group has been using the area to launch rockets at the Turks, with Erdogan complaining that the allies aren’t helping, and that Ankara is ready to act alone.

Possibly hinting at the United States, which has a large base on Turkish soil, the president said: “the allies, especially those with powerful weapons in the region, are not able to provide the support we desire,” as reported by Turkish media.

Kilis, which hosts a large number of Syrian refugees, has been caught in cross-border shelling on several occasions during the conflict.

One of the latest major assaults from across the Syrian border came in late April, when two MLRS rockets hit a residential downtown area, injuring 16 people, including children. One rocket penetrated the roof of a house, while another hit a garden fence. Later that same day, two more rockets hit a historic mosque, located just 100 meters from the office of the governor of Kilis. One person was killed in the explosion.

READ MORE: Rockets from Syria hit Turkish town Kilis, at least 4 injured

A total of 45 missiles hit Kilis province in the space of three months since January 18, killing 16 people, according to Dogan news agency.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu promised at the time that all necessary measures were being taken to prevent further rocket attacks from across the border, adding that Ankara may ask the American-led coalition’s help in the near future.