ISTANBUL, Turkey - Turkey will fight against ISIS and other "terrorist" groups in the region but will stick to its aim of seeing Syrian President Bashar Assad removed from power, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday. The advance of ISIS insurgents to within sight of the Turkish army on the Syrian border has piled pressure on Ankara to play a greater role in the U.S.-led coalition carrying out airstrikes against the insurgents in Syria and Iraq.
"We will fight effectively against both (ISIS) and all other terrorist organisations within the region; this will always be our priority," Erdogan said in a speech at the opening of parliament. Turkey shares a 750-mile border with Iraq and Syria and is already struggling with 1.5 million refugees from the Syrian war alone. It deployed tanks and armoured vehicles on the border with Syria this week as fighting intensified. But it fears that U.S.-led airstrikes, if not accompanied by a broader political strategy, could strengthen Assad.