The Islamic State group has claimed a rocket attack that killed three Turkish soldiers in Syria, its first deadly attack on Turkish forces since they crossed the border two weeks ago, reports BSS.
“Soldiers of the caliphate… targeted two tanks belonging to the apostate Turkish army with guided rockets,” the group said in a statement circulated on social media late on Tuesday.
It said the tanks were destroyed and “a number of Turkish soldiers” killed. A senior Turkish official said three soldiers were killed and four wounded in the attack south of the border town of Al-Rai.
Turkish tanks move along a road near the Syrian village of al-Waqf
They were the first Turkish losses to IS since Ankara launched its offensive on August 24. One Turkish soldier was killed in an August 27 rocket attack that Ankara blamed on the US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Ankara has said that its offensive in Syria is aimed against both IS and the YPG, which it regards as an extension of the outlawed rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging an insurgency in southeastern Turkey for three decades.
On Sunday, Turkish forces, supported by pro-Ankara rebels, pushed IS back from the last section of the international border which it controlled.