By Jacob Abel
On February 5, 2017, Turkish Police launched massive, coordinated, raids across the country against individuals suspected of cooperating with the self-proclaimed Islamic State. The BBC reports that 445 individuals were detained, 150 of whom were from provinces that border Syria. Sixty additional people were detained in the Turkish capital of Ankara as well as another 18 people in Istanbul, including 10 minors.
USA Today reports that during the raid in Sanliurfa province, in southern Turkey near Syria, police found documents and materials relating to ISIS. These raids occurred across 18 provinces, with one terrorist attack allegedly thwarted in the process of the raids, according to the New York Times.
The raids come in response to the New Year’s terrorist attack on the Reina Nightclub in Istanbul this past December. The club has since been put on heightened security notice by the US embassy in Ankara, under the assumption that an attack on the area around the club is possible.
Currently, Turkey is involved in operations inside Syria pushing back against ISIS and Kurdish fighters. Additionally, the New York Times reports that Russia and Turkey are cooperating on a mission reclaiming Al Bab from ISIS control as part of the ongoing campaign to diminish the Islamic State’s presence in Syria. The Russian-backed Syrian government forces, as well as various militias, are pushing into Al Bab with Turkish forces and the various rebel forces they support. The Turkish and Russian governments have agreed that Syrian Government forces will occupy the city. Al-Bab is the last major city left besides Raqqa, which ISIS claims as its de facto capital within Syria.
However, cooperation between the two states hit a bump in the road recently as Fox News reports that a Russian airstrike inside Al-Bab killed three Turkish soldiers and wounded eleven others. The incident prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to call Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and apologize for the incident. President Erdogan recently spoke on the phone with newly elected US President Donald Trump, they promised to cooperate in the Al-Bab operation. Turkey and Russia have cooperated more and more in their operations inside Syria after US-led peace efforts have failed to conjure up any results.