Ankara- The terrorist ISIS organization has escalated its assaults against Turkish-backed members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as forces from the Euphrates Shield Operation were close from entering the town of al-Bab, the main ISIS stronghold north Syria.
Meanwhile, Ankara took on Tuesday preventive measures in Jarablus and along its border with Syria amid news of tension in the town of Azaz.
Speaking during a weekly Justice and Development (AK) Party meeting in the capital Ankara, Turkey’s Prime Minister Benali Yildirim said the Turkish-backed FSA fighters were very close to the city of al-Bab and that the area will soon be purified from ISIS members.
Turkish military sources said that the forces participating in the Euphrates Shield Operation were moving very quickly towards al-Bab, but they were faced during the past two days with a fierce resistance from ISIS members.
On Tuesday, Turkey resumed its airstrike assault against ISIS-controlled positions. The shelling was conducted in coordination with Moscow, after the Syrian regime and its allies had threatened to target Turkish warplanes. The Turkish airstrikes had actually stopped for around 3 weeks.
According to the prime minister’s office, Yildirim will pay an official visit to Russia on Dec. 5. The Turkish prime minister is expected to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his counterpart Dmitry Medvedev, mainly about the latest developments of Euphrates Shield in north Syria.
Meanwhile, the Turkish army said in a statement on Tuesday that nine Syrian FSA members were killed and 52 wounded during clashes in the region of al-Bab. The army added that ISIS launched a fierce resistance to prevent the Turkish-backed forces from entering the group’s stronghold in the northwestern part of the Aleppo countryside.
Euphrates Shield forces already controls the areas of Jabal al-Deir, Hadath and Qobat al-Sheih, which are all close to al-Bab. The forces control 27 villages in the northwestern part of Aleppo’s countryside.
Meanwhile, Turkey continued closing for the second day the Syrian border gate at Oncupinar in the Kilis province, following an outbreak of fighting with ISIS members across the frontier.
Other reports said a Turkish military force had closed the only operating hospital in the FSA-controlled city of Jarablus, a month after it has been established.