Turkey slows battle for al-Bab to avoid civilian casualties

Rebels backed by Turkish special forces, tanks and warplanes, have been besieging the Daesh-held city for weeks as part of an operation to drive the militants out of a strip of Syrian territory on Turkey's border.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A Turkish armoured vehicle in the northern Syrian rebel-held town of al-Rai, Syria January 5, 2017.

Turkish-backed Syrian rebels are fighting street battles with Daesh militants in the city of al-Bab, but progress has been slowed in an effort to avoid civilian casualties, Turkey's defence minister said on Friday.

Opposition fighters backed by Turkish special forces, tanks and warplanes, have been besieging the Daesh-held city as part of Operation Euphrates Shield, designed to drive the terrorists from Syrian territory on Turkey's border.

The military also said it had killed 32 members of Daesh in the area in the previous 24 hours.

In a round-up of its military operations on Thursday, the army said Turkish warplanes destroyed 21 targets in the areas of al-Bab and Bzagah, including buildings and vehicles.

Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield on Aug. 24, 2106 to clear Daesh from the country's southern borders. Ankara also wants to form a terror-free zone that covers the towns of al-Bab, al-Rai, Azaz, Jarablus and Manbij.

The zone will ensure security for Turkey's southern border with Syria, provide a safe shelter for locals in the region and help kerb the influx of refugees coming into Turkey.

Source: 
TRTWorld