The Turkish military launched an operation into Syria overnight to evacuate Turkish soldiers guarding the tomb of Suleyman Shah, grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire, two senior Turkish officials told Reuters on Sunday.
The mission was successfully completed, with the troops brought back to Turkey, but one soldier was killed in an accident during the operation, one of the officials said.
The Turkish government said late last year that ISIL militants were advancing on the mausoleum, which is guarded by several dozen Turkish soldiers.
The tomb was made Turkish territory under a treaty signed with France in 1921, when France ruled Syria. Turkey regards it as sovereign territory and had repeatedly vowed to defend it from any attack by the insurgents.
Turkey has been reluctant to take an active role in the US-led military campaign against ISIL, partly because it wants to see the military action target Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's forces as much as the insurgents.
ISIL and other Islamist groups, whose strict Salafi interpretation of Islam deems the veneration of tombs to be idolatrous, have destroyed several tombs and mosques in Syria.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.