Turkey will continue with its military operation in Syria despite the deadly attack on an Istanbul nightclub that was a “message” against the campaign, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Monday.
“This was a message for our cross-border operations, above all the Euphrates Shield,” he said, using the mission name of Turkey’s campaign inside Syria.
“We will carry on our cross-border operations and Euphrates Shield and with determination,” he stressed.
The attack on New Year’s Eve killed 39 people, including an Israeli Arab, and wounded dozens more.
Kurtulmus’s comments came hours after the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out “to take revenge on Turkey, who serves the cross” and was done “for the sake of Allah’s religion.”
Turkish troops entered northern Syria on August 24 in support of pro-Ankara Syrian rebels, with the aim of ousting ISIS jihadists as well as Kurdish militia from the border area.
After a lightning successful start to the operation recapturing towns from ISIS including Jarabulus, the Turkish military has taken dozens of casualties as it tries to capture Al Bab where ISIS has put up a stronger fight to remain in control.
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