Claim: Turkey shields DAESH terrorists from Russian attack

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Claim: Turkey shields DAESH terrorists from Russian attack

2015-11-25 04:59 GMT
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Russian President Vladimir Putin claims Turkey shields DAESH terrorists from Russian attack

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Referring to the downing of a Russian warplane by the Turkish Army, Russian president Vladimir Putin accused Turkey of being an accomplice of terrorists.1 He claimed that Turkey is shielding DAESH terrorist group from Russian attack.

Why was the Russian warplane shot down?

The Russian warplane was downed because it violated the Turkish airspace and the downing was within the limits defined by the rules of engagement, according to the Turkish government and NATO. After a Turkish aircraft was downed by Syrian forces, Turkey revised its rules of engagement.2 Pilots of the intruding Russian warplane were warned about the violation several times.3 However, the plane continued on its route despite the warnings.

Does Russia fight DAESH?

Since Russia started its air operations on 30 September 2015, Russian airstrikes have mainly bombed areas held by moderate opposition groups and civilians.4 A top US State Department official said on 4 November that “90 percent of Syrian strikes have hit the moderate Syrian opposition, and they have killed civilians in the process.”5 Furthermore, DAESH seized areas in Aleppo under cover of Russian airstrikes.6 

The area where the Russian warplane was downed in Syria has no DAESH presence and is controlled by moderate opposition. In US President Barack Obama’s words, “The problem has been Russia’s focus on propping up Assad rather than concentrating on DAESH. And Russian airstrikes against the moderate opposition only help to bolster ISIL.”1

Does Turkey support DAESH?

On the other hand, DAESH was recognized as a terrorist organization by a cabinet decree on 10 October 2013.7 Turkey’s fight against DAESH dates back to the bombing of a DAESH convoy in Syria on 24 January 2014 in retaliation for an attack from DAESH militants.8 Later on, Turkey has been involved in the coalition against DAESH since its formation on September 2014 and agreed to fight DAESH militarily and financially.

President Erdogan called DAESH a “bloody handed terrorist organization” in a UN Security Council meeting on  24 September, 2014.9 In the process of fighting DAESH, Turkey took measures domestically and on the borders to prevent foreign fighters from crossing.10 Recently, in his speech on 25 November 2015 , President Erdogan declared that 3,000 people were taken into custody and 800 of them were arrested. Within the scope of the fight against foreign terrorists, Turkey placed an exclusion order for 27,000 people, while 2,600 people were caught and deported. Measures were taken on the Syrian border to prevent fuel smuggling and 79 million litres of oil was seized.11

Following a DAESH-claimed suicide bombing targeting Kurdish activists in Turkey's border town of Suruc that resulted in the deaths of 34 citizens on 20 July 2015,12 Turkish air forces hit DAESH targets with three F-16 jet planes on 24 July.13 Turkey also allowed the US Air Force to use the Incirlik and Diyarbakir air bases in southern Turkey for their airstrikes on DAESH.14 On 12 August 2015, American warplanes used the Incirlik airbase to bomb DAESH.15 DAESH continued to target Turkey by attacking a rally in Ankara on 10 October 2015 with suicide bombers, killing 102 civilians. On 31 October 2015, Turkish fighter jets conducted more airstrikes against DAESH in Syria.16