Islamic State 'ousted from Turkey-Syria border'

Islamic State 'ousted from Turkey-Syria border'
Self proclaimed caliphate is cut off from the outside world after losing key transit points, says monitoring group.
2 min read
04 September, 2016
A Turkish tank returns from clashes with the IS group - September 4, 2016 [AFP]

Turkish forces and Syrian rebels expelled the Islamic State group from the last areas of the Syrian-Turkish border under their control on Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"ISIS has lost its contact with the outside world after losing the remaining border villages," the Britain-based monitor reported, using a variant acronym of the extremist group's name.

The Observatory said "rebels and Islamist factions backed by Turkish tanks and warplanes" had taken several villages on the border "after IS withdrew from them, ending ISIS's presence... on the border".

The advance came after Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield on August 24, saying it was targeting both the IS group and Syrian Kurdish forces, who have been key to driving the militants out of other parts of the Syrian-Turkish border.

The Kurdish YPG militia is a key partner of the US-led coalition against IS, and has recaptured large swathes of territory in Syria from the extremist group.

However, Ankara considers the YPG a "terrorist" group and has been alarmed by its expansion along the border, fearing the creation of a contiguous, semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Syria.

The loss of the Turkish border will deprive the IS group of a key transit point for recruits and supplies, though the group continues to hold territory in both Syria and Iraq.