Turkish military forces launched a cross-border raid into northern Syria reportedly to evacuate personnel guarding a centuries-old Ottoman tomb across the border near the Kurdish town of Kobani late Saturday.
The operation was carried out overnight by ground troops backed by warplanes, according to the Turkish state-run TNT television station.
One soldier was killed while evacuating personnel protecting the Tomb of Suleyman Shah and artifacts in the mausoleum, according to the Hurriyet Daily News. Suleyman Shah, who died in 1236 CE, at a spot along the Euphrates, was the grandfather of Osman I, the founder of the massive Ottoman Empire.
A joint operation by Turkish intelligence and military personnel, the evacuation was carried out after reports suggested the tomb was besieged by members of Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terror organization.
There were no clashes with enemy combatants, according to Hurriyet, which reported that Turkish troops left Syria after detonating the symbolic building to prevent Daesh terrorists from using it as a base.
The artifacts from the tomb were “temporarily” brought to Turkey and the army “took control of an area in the Ashma region of Syria, raising our flag, where Suleiman Shah will later be transferred,” according to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
“I want to stress that a nation can build a future only by laying a claim to its past,” the Turkish prime minister added.