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Turkey Says Syrian Border Completely Cleared Of IS

September 04, 2016

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says his country's forces and Syrian rebels have expelled the extremist group Islamic State (IS) from the last areas of the Syrian-Turkish border under its control.

"From Azaz to Jarabulus, our 91-kilometer border has been completely secured. All terrorist organizations have been repulsed and they have gone," Yildirim said on September 4 during a televised speech while visiting the southeastern city of Diyarbakir.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said IS "has lost its link with the outside world after losing all border areas" with Turkey.

The monitoring group said that "rebels and Islamist factions backed by Turkish tanks and warplanes" had taken several villages on the border "after IS withdrew from them, ending IS's presence...on the border."

The advance comes after Turkey launched an operation on August 24 designed to drive IS away from the border and also prevent the advance of Kurdish fighters.

Yildirim on September 4 defended his country's intervention in Syria, pointing to their long shared border. "We are there to protect our borders, ensure the safety of our citizens' lives and property, and to protect the territorial integrity of Syria," Yildirim said in Diyarbakir.

"We will never allow the formation of an artificial state in the north of Syria," he said.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP and AFP

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/turkey-say-syria- border-free-of-islamic-state/27966646.html

Copyright (c) 2016. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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