Attrition: The Turkish War With ISIL

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May 13, 2016: Because of growing ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) attacks on Turkish targets since late 2015 Turkey has been responding more vigorously in 2016. So far this year Turkey believes that air and artillery attacks have killed nearly a thousand ISIL gunmen. About 43 percent were caused by the many (more than 5,000) artillery shells fired across the border while the rest are from air strikes. Turkey is limiting its use of air strikes in Syria because Russia is still angry about Turkish F-16s shooting down a Russian warplane in 2015. Because of that risk Turkish jet fighters do not fly too far into Syria. Despite these losses ISIL continues to operate close to the Turkish border. The Turkish artillery can reach about 30 kilometers into Syria and the F-16s don’t go more than 50-100 kilometers in. So far this year ISIL mortar shells and rockets fired into Turkey have killed nearly twenty Turks (mostly civilians) and wounded over fifty. ISIL took credit for a January bombing that killed twelve German tourists. Since January Turkish security forces have rounded up hundreds of ISIL members and supporters (or suspected supporters) inside Turkey. In addition border security has been made tighter, especially when it comes to border crossings where ISIL and other Islamic terrorists got a lot less scrutiny. Smuggling routes known to be used by ISIL are now guarded more often and Turkish smugglers are less willing to do any work for ISIL.

 


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