Kurdistan, Non classé, Syrie

Turkey army convoy entered northern Syria to protect tomb

The turkish military convoy, crossing an YPG checkpoint, south to Kobane and north to Sarin. (April 23, 2014, via @Avashin).

The turkish military convoy, crossing a rebellion checkpoint, south to Kobane and north to Sarin. (April 23, 2014, via @Avashin).

CHRONICLE INFORMATION – During April 23, 2014, 17 turkish military trucks, armored vehicles and pickups entered in northern Syria. They used an YPG road as FSA local battalions checkpoints, before reaching the Suleyman Shah tomb, an important and famous historical site protecting the tomb of the Ottoman dynasty ancestor, and part of the Turkey territory. The operation came to reinforce turkish military elements inside tomb site as Islamic State of Iraq and Sham fighters were approaching, threatening to destroy the monument as contrary to Islam interdiction to build tombs greater than houses, as they did in others parts of north-eastern Syria.

Entering in northern Syria

According to many reports from activists groups as TahrirSy network, Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) fighters reached, last days, surrounding areas (only 300 to 200 meters from the tomb) around the Suleyman Shah tomb, in eastern part of the Aleppo governorate, an turkish exclave in syrian territory. As some news released last months, the Erdogan government was very careful about the military situation around the area.

Early in the day, an important convoy, assembled in Turkey, crossed the border to enter into syrian territory. An agreement reached by the kurdish autonomist local administration based in Kobane (Ayn al-Arab), gave guarantees to turkish army to take roads under YPG control. As they advanced in the area, they took the road to Suleyman Shah tomb. They could penetrate some FSA local battalions checkpoints as Kataeb Shams al-Shamal, near Qara Kawzak brigde. The convoy entered in the last part of the mission as they reached the tomb under ISIS observation, but without clashes.

The military convoy crossing the Kataeb Shams al-Shamal checkpoint near Qara Kawzak bridge :

Protect a famous mausoleum, part of Turkey sovereign territory 

The Suleyman Shah tomb isn’t a new important fact in the syrian war. Sam Hardy wrote an excellent article in the conflict antiquities blog [1], introducing an excellent come back on the monument story in the war. The first moment that the turkish government expressed concerns about the tomb took place in August 5, 2012, as the war was ongoing in northern and eastern parts of the Aleppo governorate. [2] The Turkey prime minister, Recep Tayyıp Erdogan, announced to be ready to protect it and remembered that the site was, de facto, part of the NATO territory, as part of turkish territory.

The turkish army presence inside tomb site was just a military honorific guard since the new mausoleum was built in 1970′, and only protected by some fortifications installed in 2003 [3]. They’re not in capacity for a possible battle with ISIS, based in Sarin, not far. So, under the threat to be destroyed by ISIS policy to apply a radical and literary version of Islam, the Erdogan administration accelerated operations to reinforce the military presence on the site. This was done April 23, 2014.

After the mission completed with some armored vehicles and turkish troops (as commandos members) installed in the tomb site, the convoy greater part took back the road to Turkey.

The Suleiman Shah tomb, in the eastern part of Aleppo governorate. Picture from HaberKita paper, in March 14, 2014).

The Suleiman Shah tomb, in the eastern part of Aleppo governorate. Picture from HaberKita paper, in March 14, 2014).

[1] March 17, 2014 : http://conflictantiquities.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/syria-turkey-tomb-suleyman-shah-isis/

[2] August 7, 2012 : http://www.news.az/articles/turkey/65999

[3] August 28, 2012 : http://www.worldbulletin.net/haber/94577/turkey-to-keep-working-to-preserve-tomb-of-suleyman-shah-in-syria

April 24, 2014
by Cedric LABROUSSE

2 Comments

  1. fatmi ben Ayed

    The tomb should be safe: attacking defenseless civilians is the ISIS’ thing. A regular army they leave alone as we have seen with the SAA.
    Anecdotal but interesting though. In all wars I guess there occurs such curious events.

  2. MIchael Jone

    Islamic State is holding a large convoy of NATO and the Turkish army
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3b0q731cKY&feature=youtu.be

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