Striking ISIS ‘matter of 2 minutes’ says army chief
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULOct 02, 2014 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Oct 02, 2014 12:00 am
The Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel said that there would be an instant intervention by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in case of an emergency at the Tomb of Suleiman Shah and that the TSK will deliver airstrikes within two minutes upon receiving information that there is an Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) threat to the Turkish exclave.
The statement came two days after a comprehensive mandate was sent to Parliament as the anti-ISIS coalition continues to strike the militant group. The Cabinet met to discuss all available options regarding the upcoming motion over the deployment of Turkish troops to Syria and Iraq.
Gen. Özel made a presentation to Cabinet members during the discussion of the motion elaborating on the plan of possible operations to protect the Tomb of Suleiman Shah recognized as the only Turkish territory outside of Turkey. The operation, to be conducted in case of an ISIS assault on the outpost in which 50 soldiers are on duty, will reportedly have two stages. According to the plan that was approved by the government officials, while the point shots will be carried out using howitzers, the TSK will act immediately to any case of emergency, delivering airstrikes within a matter of minutes.
Gen. Özel also said that the soldiers' logistical needs are sent to the outpost, located 28 kilometers away from the Turkish border, via land route and the last delivery was a month ago. He added that the militants had not surrounded the tomb, yet the tomb was among the regions under ISIS control. The resources reveal that the region is perpetually traced by drones and measures are taken in case the militants encircle the tomb.
According to the resources of the Foreign Ministry, members of the coalition against ISIS including the U.S. began leaning toward establishing a no-fly zone as there is a need for a safe zone. The U.S. in particular has been mostly persuaded over the issue of forming a safe zone aiming to pave the way for a stable administration to be established and order to be brought in the region. A safe zone is also believed to prevent a further refugee crisis in Turkey.
The resources highlight that establishing a safe zone does not necessitate a decision by the U.N., but even so, Turkey will refrain from unilaterally announcing a safe zone.
Gen. Özel also delivered an Eid al-Adha message addressing the soldiers who serve at the Tomb of Suleiman Shah, and reassured them that the TSK are with them at all times as there are rumors about ISIS militants surrounding the exclave.
"You are not alone and the Turkish Armed Forces will be at your side the moment we hear that you are under threat," Gen. Özel said, praising the soldiers and staff who are duly performing their duty at the tomb with the utmost responsibility at a critical time as the threat of ISIS terrorism persists. "I have full faith that from now on you will continue to perform your duties with success and represent our nation and armed forces while preserving our honor and dignity." He wished the staff happy holidays and thanked them for their commitment.