Turk­ish jets hit al-Bab in push to take ISIL’s Raqqa

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

TURK­ISH jets hit 15 “tar­gets” in the al-Bab area of north­ern Syria on Sun­day in an op­er­a­tion with Syr­ian rebels that could fore­shadow a push on ISIL’s de facto cap­i­tal Raqqa, the Turk­ish mil­i­tary said.

Ten de­fen­sive po­si­tions, com­mand cen­tres and an am­mu­ni­tion store used by the Is­lamic State in Iraq and the Le­vant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) were de­stroyed in the raids, the army said in a state­ment.

Nine Syr­ian rebels were killed and 52 wounded dur­ing clashes in the area, it added.

Ac­cord­ing to Osama Bin Javaid, re­port­ing from Gaziantep on the Turk­ish-Syr­ian border, the at­tack on al-Bab “started a few days ago when the Turk­ish mil­i­tary re­sumed air strikes on the area”.

“Since then, [the Turk­ish-backed] FSA fight­ers have come much closer to re­tak­ing al-Bab”, he said, us­ing an acro­nym to re­fer to the Free Syr­ian Army.

Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan has said seiz­ing con­trol of al-Bab, around 30 km south of the border, is a goal of the op­er­a­tion be­fore tar­get­ing Man­bij and Raqqa.

Kur­dish-led forces re­cently drove ISIL from Man­bij, and Raqqa is con­sid­ered ISIL’s de facto cap­i­tal.

“Al-Bab is near the border of Syria and Tur­key, and is one of the last re­main­ing [ISIL] strongholds in that area,” Bin Javaid re­ported. — Al Jazeera.

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