Turkey-backed rebels close in on ISIL-held Syrian city al-Bab: PM Yıldırım
ANKARA - Reuters
REUTERS photoTurkey-backed rebels are nearing the Syrian city of al-Bab and the area will be cleared of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants soon, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Nov. 15.
“FSA and our troops are moving forward to al-Bab. They have come as close as two kilometers to al-Bab,” said Yıldırım during his weekly parliamentary speech to his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Nov. 15.
“We will clear this area of Daesh forces in no time,” said Yıldırım, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL.
Turkey-backed FSA rebels launched an operation on Nov. 13 to capture northern Syria’s al-Bab from ISIL under the Euphrates Shield Operation.
The operation was initially launched on Aug. 24 in order to free Turkey’s border with Syria from putative terrorist groups.
As part of the operation to take al-Bab back from ISIL, Turkish special forces units have infiltrated into the town and its surrounding area, according to rebels sources in the region.
Turkish warplanes struck 15 targets in the al-Bab area on Nov. 13, the Turkish military said on Nov. 14, adding that 10 ISIL defensive positions, command centers and an ammunition store were destroyed in the strikes.