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Evacuated military post in Syria still on Turkish land: FM

English.news.cn   2015-02-23 01:34:20

ANKARA, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Turkey sent a letter to the United Nations and issued a note to Damascus affirming that the evacuated military post of Suleyman Shah Tomb in northern Syria "is still on Turkish land," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Sunday.

"We confirm that the evacuated military post is still on Turkish land, and we'll be back later," the minister told reporters in the tourist Antalya province along Mediterranean Sea, saying, "We did not evacuate, we relocated the tomb."

In 1921 when Paris still ruled Syria, France and Turkey signed a treaty assigning the tomb on Turkish land.

Turkish troops entered into the northern Syrian area overnight to extract some 40 Turkish soldiers guarding the Tomb of Suleyman Shah, located in the city of Aleppo in Syria by the Turkish border.

Earlier, Turkish media reported that the Turkish soldiers were trapped for months by nearby Islamic State (IS) fighters.

Ankara has vowed repeatedly to defend the tomb.

The operation took place as Turkey took a step towards a greater role in fighting IS militants. Turkish officials signed a deal Friday with the U.S. to train and equip Syrian rebels against IS militants.

Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said Sunday that Turkey designated a new site in Syria to relocate the revered historical tomb to, once it is removed from its previous location.

According to Davutoglu, about 100 military vehicles, including 39 tanks, 57 armed vehicles and 572 soldiers were involved in the operation started Saturday continuing through Sunday.

After removing valuable artifacts, soldiers detonated the symbolic building to prevent IS militants from using it as a base, said the prime minister. He added that Turkey would hold a relocation ceremony in Syria's Esmesi district in a few days.

There were no clashes, however, one Turkish soldier was accidentally killed during the evacuation, Davutoglu said.

"Turkey does not seek approval nor help from anyone," the prime minister added.

Parties were aware that serious repercussions would follow if they intervened," he said, referring indirectly to IS militants in Syria.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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