World Bulletin / News Desk
Rebels belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have threatened Turkey to withdraw its troops from the Suleiman Shah tomb in Aleppo, which is officially Turkish territory.
In a video released on Thursday, ISIL rebels said, "Although the Turkish armed forces are expected to withdraw immediately, we have given a three-day period."
"We ask them to remove the Turkish flag and withdraw the soldiers. We do not give consent to the armed forces of a secular country within the ISIL's sacred land. Otherwise, we will demolish the tomb," the statement said.
ISIL rebels recently took control of the surrounding area after defeating rival opposition group the Free Syrian Army in the mainly ethnic Turkmen region.
The Al-Qaeda breakaway group has a history of attacking and destroying the tombs of prominent figures in Islamic history, including those of spiritual and political leaders.
According to international agreements, the tomb of Suleiman Shah, the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire, is Turkish territory and is protected by Turkish soldiers. An attack on the tomb would be an attack on Turkey itself and an attack on a NATO member country, the Turkish foreign ministry and general staff previously warned.
The Turkish authorities are said to be considering all possibilities after carrying out a comprehensive evaluation and may resort to air attacks to defend the territory, which is 30 kilometers from the mainland.
An arrest warrant for the four was also withdrawn, Gulden Sonmez, a lawyer for the victims, wrote on Twitter after a closed door hearing in Istanbul.
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