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Turkey’s Syria offensive slows down outside ISIS-held al-Bab

By Rudaw 5/12/2016
Turkish backed Syrian rebel fighters in their offensive against the positions of the so-called Islamic State in northern Syria. Photo: AFP
Turkish backed Syrian rebel fighters in their offensive against the positions of the so-called Islamic State in northern Syria. Photo: AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Turkey’s Euphrates Shield operation against ISIS in northwestern Syria has slowed down outside of the city of al-Bab, which is held by militants with no progress on the ground or bomber flights. 

The Turkish military statements on Saturday and Sunday claimed that ISIS militants “were put under pressure by strikes from units in the region and on the border” but an official told Hurriyet, under condition of anonymity, that the operation has notably slowed down.

“There is currently no progress, and the Air Forces are not making any flights,” the official claimed. 

The Euphrates Shield operation has seen Turkey provide air, artillery, armor and troop support to an army of at least 1,500 Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels. It successfully forced ISIS to retreat from the town of Jarablus shortly after it was launched on August 24 and has also forced the militants out of the town of Dabiq. 

However, al-Bab is a larger city and there are an estimated 300 ISIS militants occupying it. The slowdown in the advance could mean the Turks are preparing to mount a siege against the city.  

The Syrian regime is against FSA rebels taking over that city, fearing they could use it as a base for the anti-regime opposition. Ankara suspects that Syria might have been behind a suspected airstrike which killed four Turkish soldiers on November 24. Those soldiers had been in a temporary headquarters outside of al-Bab which has since been moved. 

Turkey is also believed to be taking into consideration the fate of two of its soldiers believed to have been kidnapped by ISIS last week. 


Double Game | 5/12/2016
There have never been any fight between Turkish backed miltias or Turrkish troops and the I.S...The truth is that in some places like Jarablus the IS and Turkey have agreed just an exchange.The Turkish incusion is about killing Kurds .Everything else is just a show,a parody.It is the usual double game which Turkey is playing with America and I.S.,with Nato and Russia and with everyone.
Guest | 6/12/2016
Here are a few facts that everybody should know about this issue: 1. Turkey has been giving help and support not only to ISIS, but also to other Islamic terrorist groups (like Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusrah) for the last 5 years. Turkey is allied with those groups. 2. When back in August 2016 Turkey sent troops into Syria, the ISIS forces that had been in a place like Jarabulus for 2 years, did not fire a single shot at the direction of the Turkish troops. Unlike what they had done in all other places, ISIS did not use any IED, or car-bomb, or suicide-bomber, nothing. And in a single day Jarabulus was totally in the hands of the Turkish forces, without Turkey losing a single soldier. All of the ISIS fighters changed their clothes and put on the uniforms of the Turkish-backed Islamic fighters called “Free Syrian Army” (FSA). This happened in other places where Turkey took from ISIS as well. 3. The few soldiers and tanks that Turkey has recently lost in Syria (near the town of Al-Bab) have not happened at the hands of ISIS. Turkey has suffered those losses at the hands of the Syrian Air Force (a couple weeks ago, I read that Turkey had moved anti-aircraft weapon system to Syria to protect its forces from the Syrian Air Force). The reason why Turkey is not in Al-Bab right now is that the Syrian government, backed by Russia, has warned Turkey not to enter Al-Bab. That is a red-line for Syria and Russia; otherwise, like in Jarabulus, ISIS would have handed the town over to the Turkish troops and itself had become a part of FSA.
ze | 7/12/2016
Don't give Al Bab to Turkey or Syrian Government. Take it .It is the Stake for freedom of Kurds.
Guest | 7/12/2016
Turkey has Kurd citizens. And most of them glad to live in Turkey. With this knowledge as you can imagine Turkey won't hurt any Kurd in the field if they won't attack. Ofcourse Turkey has its own interests and many other countries. So because of that the happining thing in the field is protecting interests of Turkey. That is pretty simple.
Quardo zagros | 25/12/2016
Turkey's only strategy is to stop the antic Kurds. Turkey is being afraid of a Kurdish states along its south border. That is because Turkish named Mongolian occupation of Kurdish land. If Kurds has their own state that they probably would desire to get their Turkish occupied antic land back..

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