Turkish army says Syrian rebels’ advance hampered by jihadists’ resistance
AA PhotoThe advance of Ankara-backed Syrian rebels was hampered due to resistance by jihadists in northern Syria, the Turkish army said in a statement on Nov. 1.
“In the Marea and al-Rai regions, no advances were made in the offensive launched by [the Syrian rebels] in the Shudud, Abla, Esh Shuayb and Shadir residential areas due to Deash’s strong resistance,” said the Turkish General Staff in a statement released on the 70th day of the Euphrates Shield Operation, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Turkey and the Ankara-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels have been aiming to clear ISIL from the region, along with the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) fighters, which Turkey also regards as a terror organization with links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
A total of 12 FSA fighters have been injured in the clashes to take back the four residential areas from ISIL, the statement added.
The Euphrates Shield Operation was launched by Turkey in late August to clear Syria’s northern border area of “terrorists,” namely ISIL and the PYD. Turkey regards both the PKK and the PYD as terrorist groups, while the U.S. and the EU only view the PKK as a terrorist organization.
FSA fighters and Turkish tanks, artillery and aircraft have been targeting the two groups’ positions in northern Syria.
The statement said 120 ISIL and two PYD targets were hit on the 70th day of the operations.
Jets belonging to the Turkish Air Force did not conduct any air operations on the 70th day, while an aircraft was stationed on the ground to respond if an urgent target appeared, the statement said.
U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition aircrafts also did not conduct any air sorties, it said.
The army added that since the beginning of the operation in late August, 33 mines and 1,379 handmade explosives had been destroyed.