Erdogan threatens ground operation in Syria after deadly rocket strike

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday he was mulling going beyond air strikes and launching a ground operation in Syria following a deadly rocket strike on a Turkish border town.

Erdogan also renewed warnings that those attacking Turkey will pay dearly, a day after Ankara's forces launched air raids on bases of outlawed Kurdish groups in northern Syria and Iraq.

"There is no question that this operation be limited to only an aerial operation," Erdogan told reporters on returning to Turkey from Qatar where he attended the FIFA World Cup opening.

"Competent authorities, our defence ministry and chief of staff will together decide the level of force that should be used by our ground forces," Erdogan said.

"We have already warned that we will make those who violate our territory pay," he added.

Erdogan spoke after a rocket strike from Syrian territory killed at least three people, including a child, in a border Turkish town.

That strike came a day after Turkey carried out air raids against the bases of Kurdish militant groups in northern Syria and Iraq which it said were being used to launch "terrorist" attacks on Turkish soil.

The overnight raids mainly targeting positions held by Syrian Kurdish forces in northern and northeastern Syria killed at least 31 people, according to the British-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).


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