Turkey's presidential spokesman said Turkish-backed rebels had entered the town in northern Syria. He also said Turkey would target Daesh's de facto Syrian capital, Raqqa.

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

Turkish-backed Syrian rebels have entered the Daesh-controlled town of al-Bab, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, said on Wednesday.

Earlier, the Turkish military said Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters captured strategic hills overlooking the northern Syrian town.

Two Turkish soldiers have died in the ongoing operation, and 15 others were slightly wounded.

The Turkish military said it had killed 58 Daesh members in air and artillery strikes.

The presidential spokesman said Turkey was coordinating its drive on al-Bab with Russia, to avoid confrontation with Syrian regime forces, also advancing on al-Bab.

Earlier, TRT World spoke with correspondent lolo ap Dafydd in the Turkish border town of Gaziantep. He has this update on operations in the area.

Raqqa next?

President Erdogan's spokesman also said Turkey has a detailed plan to drive Daesh out of its Raqqa stronghold in northern Syria.

Kalin said there had been better coordination with the US-led coalition on airstrikes in the last 10 days and Ankara's priority was to establish a safe zone between the Syrian towns of Azaz and Jarablus.

Kalin was speaking the day after President Erdogan and US President Donald Trump agreed to cooperate more closely on fighting Daesh and terror in the region.

In its latest summary on actions in Syria, Turkey's military on Wednesday said it had destroyed 189 Daesh targets, including shelters, defence positions, command centres and heavy weapons. It said airstrikes destroyed 65 Daesh targets including shelters, checkpoints, tunnel entrances and a command centre.

Operation Euphrates Shield

The struggle for al-Bab and Raqqa are part of Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield, launched on August 26, 2016, to clear Turkey's borders of terror groups.

The liberation of Al-Bab is one of two major objectives of Euphrates Shield. The other is the liberation of Manbij, east of al-Bab. Manbij is currently controlled by US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The SDF is dominated by fighters from the YPG, the armed wing of the PKK's Syrian branch of the PYD.

Turkey, the US, and the EU consider the PKK a terrorist organisation.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies