Some 300 elite Turkish commandos have reportedly joined Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria to help the Free Syrian Army's offensive against Islamic State terrorists and Kurdish militias that Ankara is engaging on a foreign soil.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement that his goal in Syria was to end the rule of Bashar Assad has caused consternation in the Kremlin, with officials saying it contradicted previous assurances and was out of sync with Moscow’s take on the situation.
Islamic State has used vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices with Mad Max-like armor to devastating effect. The tide may be turning in Mosul now that Iraqi troops have captured one such truck and destroyed over 60 more, a Pentagon official said.
US officials are split over the future of Raqqa, Syria, with some claiming all international forces will leave the city once it is freed from terrorists, and others announcing plans to stay to ‘govern’ it along with Turkey.
The US State Department has ordered the families of American diplomats in Istanbul, Turkey, to leave due to an increased risk of terrorism following extremists’ threats to “kidnap and assassinate Westerners and US citizens.”
Turkish jets have reportedly not taken part in the Euphrates Shield operation in neighboring Syria for a week now over the fears of being shot down by local air defenses after Damascus promised to prevent any aerial incursions.