Turkey kills 38 ISIL militants, rebels advance in Syria
REUTERS photoSome 38 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants were killed in northern Syria over the last 24 hours, the Turkish military said on Oct. 9, marking an escalation of conflict in the area where Syrian rebels, backed by Ankara, are fighting the jihadists.
Supported by Turkish tanks and air strikes, rebels have been pushing towards the Islamic State (IS) stronghold of Dabiq in an operation launched in late August.
Fourteen of the ISIL militants were killed as they attempted to enter the rebel-controlled villages of Akhtarin and Turkmen Bareh, three kilometers east of Dabiq, a key target of Turkey’s Euphrates Operaiton, the Turkish military said in a statement.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Octb 8 that ISIL fighters had captured those villages in a counter attack near the Turkish border, but the Turkish military statement contradicted this account.
Another 17 ISIL militants were killed in air strikes by U.S.-led coalition warplanes in the same areas, the military said in its daily round-up on the Euphrates Shield.
Turkish warplanes later launched their own air strikes against ISIL targets in northern Syria on Sunday morning, killing seven militants and destroying five buildings which they were using, the army said in a subsequent statement.
The military also said two Syrian rebels had been killed and 19 wounded in the latest fighting against ISIL.
The operation has also targeted a Kurdish militia whose presence along its border Turkey sees as a threat.