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Drones, Turkish artillery hit Islamic State in Syria, 34 dead — military

A mother and her children sheltering from an earlier Turkish attack last week

Shelling by Turkish artillery and drones which took off from southern Turkey struck Islamic State targets in Syria on Sunday, killing 34 militants, the Turkish military said.

It said the strikes, in response to Islamic State rocket attacks which hit the southern Turkish province of Kilis, destroyed six vehicles and five Islamic State gun positions.

The border town of Kilis and surrounding area has been hit frequently by rocket fire from Islamic State-controlled Syrian territory in recent months, killing civilians.

In Sunday’s strikes, Turkish howitzers and multiple rocket launchers first hit Islamic State targets about 12 km south of the border, then four drones that took off from the Incirlik base in southern Turkey destroyed further targets, the military said.

Turkey has repeatedly fired back at Islamic State positions under its rules of engagement, but has said it needs greater support from Western allies, citing the difficulty of hitting moving targets with howitzers.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted as saying last week that the United States would deploy a rocket launcher system near the stretch of border that has come under attack. A senior US military official confirmed the matter was under discussion but declined to comment further.

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