Two soldiers, 38 militants killed in al-Bab operation
GAZİANTEPTwo Turkish soldiers were killed and two others were wounded in an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attack in northern Syria during Turkey’s Euphrates Shield Operation on Jan. 4, while 38 jihadists were killed in the operation, the Turkish military reported.
One of the two killed soldiers died on Jan. 4, while the other succumbed to his injuries in the hospital later in the day.
The wounded soldiers were taken to hospitals in Gaziantep and Kilis.
Meanwhile, at least 38 ISIL militants, including a commander, were killed in northern Syria over the last 24 hours, the Turkish General Staff said Jan. 5.
Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters backed by the Turkish army destroyed at least 74 ISIL targets using howitzers, multiple rocket launchers, mortars and tanks, the statement added.
As Turkey’s efforts to cleanse its border with Syria of ISIL continues, Iraqi forces on Jan. 5 launched an offensive aimed at retaking towns still under the control of ISIL in western areas near the border with Syria, commanders said.
“A military operation has begun in the western areas of Anbar to liberate them from Daesh,” said Lt.-Gen. Qassem Mohammedi, commander of the Jazeera Operations Command, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL.
He said the operation was led by the army’s 7th division, police, and fighters from local tribes that have opposed the jihadists, with aerial backing from the U.S.-led coalition.
The main targets of the operation are Aanah, Rawa and al-Qaim, the westernmost Iraqi towns along the Euphrates Valley.
The jihadist hub of al-Qaim, which lies 330 kilometers northwest of Baghdad, is still a long way down the road and the most immediate target of the new offensive is the town of Aanah.
“Our forces started advancing from Haditha toward Aanah from several directions,” Mohammedi told AFP.