The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda [AP]
|Turkish fighter jets have hit a convoy belonging to the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in northern Syria, according to a local media report quoting a statement from the Turkish military.A report on Turkey’s Todays Zaman website said that Turkish F-16s struck a number of ISIL vehicles “after militants opened fire on a military outpost” on the Turkey-Syria border on Wednesday.
Broadcaster NTV said Turkish troops opened fire on the ISIL positions after a mortar shell fired from Syria landed in Turkish territory during clashes between ISIL and the Free Syrian Army.
The broadcaster said a pickup truck, a lorry and a bus were destroyed in the Turkish retaliation, but there were no reports of casualties.
Contradicting Todays Zaman, NTV said the attack occured on Tuesday evening,
Al Jazeera’s Anita McNaught, reporting from Istanbul, said the report, if true, would represent “a considerable and significant escalation” in tensions between Ankara and such groups fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Turkish media have cited a two-day escalation in hostilities between the sides, but until now the Turkish military had only retaliated with tanks and artillery fire, our correspondent noted.
“These are fighters who on many occasions Turkey has turned a blind eye to,” said McNaught. “…Turkey is now fighting against the people [who] they have allowed to pass into Syria.”