World Bulletin / News Desk
As the Al Qaeda breakaway group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), continues to strengthen its grip on some parts of northern Syria, Turkey has warned the group after receiving demands to withdraw its troops from the grounds of the Suleiman Shah tomb in Aleppo.
The tomb and its grounds is recognized by international agreements as being Turkish territory and is guarded by Turkish soldiers. The ISIL rebel group has threatened to destroy the tomb, as they have done other tombs before, unless Turkey withdraws its troops from the territory. Turkey has responded threatening action against the ISIL if they attempt to breach the tomb.
Speaking to Al Jazeera Turk, the leader of the Turkmen Kerama Brigade in the nearby town of Karakozak, Zekeriya Karsli, said that the ISIL are planning an attack on the tomb but are divided by differing opinions within their group.
According to Karsli, some ISIL rebels have deemed an attack on the tomb as unnecessary and too risky, and have therefore decided to withdraw from the Karakozak village. However, the ISIL maintain a presence in the region, where they are constantly clashing with other opposition groups, in which their commander Abu Hashim Al-Suudi is believed to have been injured.
The ISIL had given Turkish troops based on the tomb's territory 3 days to pull out on March 22, threatening to attack if they refused. Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu reassured that the situation on the ground was stable, but said Turkey was preparing for all possibilities.
There has been increased activity along the Turkish-Syrian border this week, as rebel forces seized the border post of Kasab from Bashar al-Assad's regime. As the rebels continue on their march southwards along the Mediterranean coast towards the city of Lazkiya, the regime in desperately trying to make amends for their losses.
The fighting has forced ethnic Turkmens from the Syrian towns of Gebelli, Karakopru and Kizgil to flee towards the Turkish border seeking safety.
Days ago, Turkish F-16s shot down a Syrian regime warplane over Kasab after it breached Turkish airspace and ignored a number of warnings.Last Mod: 26 Mart 2014, 14:06