World Bulletin / News Desk
A Turkish military operation to rescue 38 soldiers guarding a tomb in Syria surrounded by militants was launched to counter a possible attack on them, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Monday.
The action, which involved tanks, drones and reconnaissance planes as well as several hundred ground troops, was the first of its kind by Turkish troops into Syria since the start of the civil war there nearly four years ago.
"With this operation, our government has removed the risk of a possible attack on the tomb and the military post, and of endangering the lives of our soldiers," Kalin told a news conference in Ankara.
The Syrian government described the operation as an act of "flagrant aggression", a response dismissed by Kalin, who said the Syrian authorities had lost all legitimacy.