Syrian refugees in Turkey urged to enlist against IS

Istanbul, Dec 28 (IANS) Some Turks have suggested enlisting Syrian refugees for the Turkish armed forces, as the death toll is growing for Turkish troops on mission in northern Syria.

An online campaign was launched lately, calling for recruiting Syrian men in Turkey who are aged between 18 to 45 and sending them to the battlefield, Xinhua news agency reported.

As many as 260,000 Turks have signed on the petition within days, which will be sent to the Turkish General Staff for consideration when the figure hits 300,000.

Last week, 17 Turkish soldiers were killed in three suicide bomb attacks by the Islamic State (IS) militants in the northern Syrian town of al-Bab, bringing the total number of Turkish deaths to 37 since Ankara launched what it called Euphrates Shield Operation on August 24 in Syria’s north.

The military offensive is aiming chiefly at preventing the Syrian Kurds from seizing more land for an autonomous region or worse, an independent state, along the border with Turkey.

The Turkish troops and Ankara-backed Syrian rebels are trying now to take al-Bab from the IS, with next targets being Manbij and Raqqa, the de-facto IS capital, as announced by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.