Suspected Syrian government air strike kills Turkey-backed rebels
ANKARAA suspected Syrian army helicopter dropped barrel bombs on Turkish-backed rebels on Oct. 25, killing two rebels, the Turkish military has said.
A helicopter “assessed to belong to regime forces” bombed the rebels in the Jabal Naif village near Akhtarin, a town 5 kilometers southeast of Dabiq, the Turkish military said in a statement on Oct. 26.
Dabiq is a former Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) stronghold which the Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels seized from the jihadists this month within the scope of Turkey’s Euphrates Shield Operation.
Two FSA rebels were killed and five wounded, the statement said.
The Syrian military said last week the presence of Turkish troops on Syrian soil was a “dangerous escalation and flagrant breach of Syria’s sovereignty.” It warned it would bring down any Turkish warplanes entering Syrian air space.
Turkey launched the Euphrates Shield operation in northern Syria in late August, using its armor and air power to help FSA fighters take territory near the border held by ISIL.
The statement said the Turkish army hit 99 ISIL and 18 Syrian Kurdish Democratic Party Union (PYD) targets as part of the same operation, now in its 64th day.
Turkey regards the PYD as a terror organization on grounds of its links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Two more opposition fighters were killed and 21 others were injured in a separate car bomb car attack by ISIL in the southeastern Akhtarin region, the military added.
Opposition forces have managed to gain control of around 163 residential districts and 1,300 square kilometers since the beginning of the operation, the military added.
At least two ISIL militants were also killed, while a vehicle and a building were destroyed in Susiyan in an air strike carried out by U.S.-led coalition forces, the military said.