Turkish warplanes kill 20 IS group militants

AP , Sunday 11 Sep 2016

Turkey's military said Sunday that its warplanes killed 20 Islamic State (IS) group fighters in an attack on targets in northern Syria, while Turkey's president renewed a pledge to destroy the group.

Warplanes had struck three buildings identified as belonging to IS, the Chief of General Staff's office said in a statement.

A vehicle and motorcycle also were destroyed in the airstrike Saturday evening that came less than two days before a U.S.-Russia agreement on a cease-fire in Syria takes effect.

In separate airstrike Sunday, Turkish jets struck Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq, killing 13 militants. The state-run Anadolu news agency cited a statement from the Chief of General Staff's office saying the militants were killed in three airstrikes that also took out weapons emplacements in Iraq's Qandil mountains and the Bazian and Avasheen regions.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his government's commitment to eliminating IS in Syria and the threat the group poses to Turkey.

Erdogan said in a televised message marking the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha that Turkey has a "primary duty" to its people to destroy IS and prevent it from staging attacks in Turkey.

He added that the Turkish government is determined to end the "scourge" of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which renewed its 30-year insurgency for autonomy within Turkey after peace talks failed last year.

Last month, Turkey sent tanks across the Syrian border to help rebels retake Jarablus, a key IS-held border town, and to contain the expansion of a Syrian Kurdish militia.

Turkish jets have carried out several strikes against IS targets in Syria since the operation began. But clashes have also reportedly broken out between Turkish and Kurdish forces in the area.

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