Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces pushed through to the centre of al-Bab, a Daesh stronghold 30 kilometres from the Turkish border. Securing al-Bab will allow Turkey and its allies to press on towards Raqqa, Daesh's de facto capital in Syria.

Turkish forces and members of the Free Syrian Army at al Baza'a village on the outskirts of al-Bab, Syria, on February 4, 2017.
Turkish forces and members of the Free Syrian Army at al Baza'a village on the outskirts of al-Bab, Syria, on February 4, 2017.

The Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) has taken several areas of the city of al-Bab in northern Syria from Daesh.

Turkey and the FSA are making a push to gain full control of al-Bab, a strategic town along Daesh's supply route from its de-facto Syrian capital Raqqa.

In its most recent report on the fighting, Turkey's military said air strikes and shelling killed 14 Daesh militants as part of the Turkish-backed opposition operation to liberate the northern Syrian town from the terrorist group.

Turkey's military said on Wednesday it had shelled 89 targets, including shelters, defence positions, command centres, weapons and vehicles used by Daesh.

The battle for al-Bab has brought the Turkish-backed opposition into close proximity with regime forces, which were advancing on the city before the rebels entered.

The military action is part of Operation Euphrates Shield, which Turkey launched in August 2016 to secure its border with Syria.

The UN says an estimated 5,000 civilians are trapped by fighting in and around al-Bab, and 300 non-combatants have been killed since December, many of them by air strikes.

Turkey and Russia have both been carrying out air strikes around the city.

Deir al-Zor province

On a separate front, the US-backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance has crossed into southeastern Deir al-Zor province for the first time as part of its offensive against Daesh.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday more than 11 people were killed and 35 others were wounded by regime air strikes in the town of al-Sur.

The death toll is expected to rise because of the number who were seriously injured, the British-based monitoring group said.

TRT World's Ediz Tiyansan reports from the city of Hatay on Turkey's border with Syria.

After al-Bab

Different groups in Syria's many-sided conflict are fighting a number of separate battles, not all of them against Daesh.

Ankara has said that after al-Bab is liberated, its forces will continue on to Manbij and Afrin, both held by the YPG.

The YPG is the armed wing of the PYD, which Turkey considers a Syrian affiliate of the PKK, listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and EU.

Turkey supports the FSA in Syria. The US backs the SDF and YPG, and Russia and Iran back regime forces and their allies.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies