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Turks raid across border to protect Ottoman tomb

600 soldiers sent in raid

SYRIA condemned Turkey yesterday after it launched a cross-border raid involving 600 soldiers.

Damascus condemned the “flagrant aggression,” with the official Sana news agency stating: “Turkey goes beyond supporting Isis and (al-Qaida affiliate) Nusra Front terrorist gangs to launch a blatant aggression on Syrian territory.”

Turkey’s military operation was staged to relieve soldiers who had been reportedly stuck for months at the tomb of Suleyman Shah in northern Syria.

Shah was the grandfather of Osman I, the 13th-century founder of the Ottoman empire. As part of the 1921 deal that ended the Franco-Turkish war, then imperial power France signed over to Turkey an 8,000 square-metre area of Syria that contained the tomb. 

One group of soldiers went to the tomb, on the banks of the Euphrates river about 22 miles from the border, while another seized another part of Syria just 200m from the border to act as the new home for the tomb.

One Turkish soldier was killed in an “accident.”

“These relics will temporarily be preserved in Turkey for the next couple of days and, God willing, will be sent to Eshme, the area of the new tomb secured by our soldiers, as is our right by international law,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.

Turkey has largely exacerbated the Syrian civil war, supplying rebels fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad and standing idly by when Isis extremists tried to take the Kurdish town of Kobane on the countries’ border.

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