ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey will act alone to deal with attacks on the town of Kilis near the Syrian border if it receives no outside help, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, in a sign of Ankara’s growing frustration with rocket fire from Islamic State-held territory.
“We will overcome the Islamic State. We will solve that issue ourselves if we don’t receive help to prevent those rockets from hitting Kilis,” Erdogan told a meeting in Istanbul in comments broadcast live on television.
“We knocked on all doors for a safe zone at our southern border. But no one wants to take that step. If the world fails to agree on decisive action against terrorist organizations, the world will no longer be a safe place,” he said.
Kilis has come under frequent rocket fire from an Islamic State-controlled area of Syria for months, leaving 21 people dead and some buildings destroyed. Turkish and U.S.-led coalition forces have responded with shelling and air strikes, killing dozens of militants in northern Syria.
But Turkish officials say Ankara needs more help from the coalition in protecting the border, citing the difficulty of hitting mobile targets with howitzers.
Turkish concern over possible Islamic State attacks deeper inside its territory has also increased. Police issued a nationwide warning for Thursday’s national holiday, with military facilities seen as prime targets.
There has been a spate of suicide bombings in Turkey this year, including two in its largest city Istanbul blamed on Islamic State, and two in the capital Ankara, which were claimed by a Kurdish militant group.
Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Editing by David Dolan/Nick Tattersall