IS release drone footage of 'devastated al-Bab' in Syria

IS release drone footage of 'devastated al-Bab' in Syria
IS have released airborne shot footage allegedly showing massive destruction to homes in the hotly contested Syrian town of al-Bab, where ferocious fighting between Turkish-backed and jihadi fighters is ongoing.
2 min read
03 Jan, 2017
Al-Bab is on the front line in the war between Turkey and IS
Islamic State group-linked Amaq news agency has released birds-eye footage of a section of al-Bab town in northern Syria, which it claims has been completely destroyed in bombing.

Footage of the devastated landscape was released in Monday, and shows a neighbourhood largely reduced to rubble.

IS says al-Bab was subject to intense Turkish and Russian bombing over the past week, after a three-month offensive by Ankara-backed Syrian rebels was intensified.

In the film a drone hovers over dozens of destroyed homes, while the camera zooms in to closer inspect the damage of homes.

In one clip the drone passes over a largely intact mosque, which is one of the few structures still standing in the largely flattened neighbourhood.

Ankara-backed Syrian rebels have been IS fighters around al-Bab since September, while dozens of air raids by Turkish and Russian jets have been reported over the past few days.

It follows a Syrian rebel advance into the border city of Jarabalus in August. From there Euphrates Shield's move into IS territory went largely unchecked until the force reached al-Bab and met dogged resistance from the jihadis.

The town was a key logistics hub for the group, linking IS' self-declared "capital" Raqqa to its other territories in northern Syria.

In recent days, there has been an upsurge in attacks on al-Bab while Syrian rebels appear poised to capture the town.

Russia - previously at loggerheads with Turkey - made a surprise entrance into the al-Bab offensive last week and have launched a series air raids on the town in support of Turkish and rebel ground troops.

Following an IS-claimed attack on a new year's party in Istanbul - which saw 39 people murdered - and the brutal killing of two captive Turkish troops days earlier, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been under pressure to strike back at the jihadis.

Over the past two days Turkey released footage of war planes and tanks hitting over 100 IS positions in al-Bab, while massive artillery barrages have also been reported on the town.

The human cost is still unknown but IS have used civilians trapped in its besieged towns and cities as human shields.

Those caught trying to escape risk death from the militants.

On Monday, ARA news reported the public beheading of a 24-year-old Syrian man for attempting to smuggle civilians out of al-Bab.

Meanwhile, a rival US allied anti-IS ground coalition of mostly Kurdish fighters is also advancing towards Raqqa, following a series of clashes with the Ankara backed force.