Dozens of IS fighters killed fighting Syrian rebels

Dozens of IS fighters killed fighting Syrian rebels
At least 68 IS militants were killed in airstrikes and fighting with Syrian rebels near al-Bab city since the horrific murder of two Turkish soldiers by militants.
2 min read
24 December, 2016
Turkish overnight airstrikes hit a total of 141 IS targets [Anadolu]
Syrian rebels backed Turkish air raids killed 68 Islamic State group in northern Syrian, Turkish military said on Saturday.

Turkish overnight airstrikes hit a total of 141 IS targets, including a military headquarters which was destroyed, the military said.

At least 68 IS militants were "neutralised" in air strikes and fighting near IS stronghold of al-Bab city since Friday night, the military said in a statement.

Two rebel fighters were killed and one was wounded in the attack.

Turkey-backed rebels laid siege to the IS-held al-Bab town for weeks as part of "Euphrates Shield" operation which launched almost four months ago in attempt to drive out IS militants from its Syrian border regions.

Fresh Turkish raids on the northern Syrian city killed 16 civilians on Friday, including three children, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Friday's raids brought the total civilian toll from 24-hours of Turkish airstrikes on the city to at least 88 dead, including 24 children, the observatory added. 

The IS-linked Amaq news agency said Friday's airstrike on al-Bab killed at least 20 people, and released a video showing infants among the dead being pulled from the debris.

At least 88 people have been killed by airstrikes over the past three days, the Observatory said.

Turkey sent ground troops into northern Syria in August to support Syrian opposition forces in clearing a border area of IS fighters and to prevent Syrian Kurds from making greater territorial advances.

At least 37 Turkish soldiers have been killed in northern Syria since then, including 16 during the clashes in al-Bab this week.

On Friday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that the Turkish-supported offensive to recapture al-Bab was on the verge of completion, without providing further information.

"Now al-Bab is almost completed and our armed forces, together with the [Syrian opposition fighters] are sorting it out," Erdogan said, at a ceremony marking the inauguration of a natural gas terminal in western Turkey.