Turkish warplanes have destroyed 17 Daesh targets near the city of al Bab in northern Syria, military sources said on Sunday.
The strikes by Turkish jets were carried out as part of Operation Euphrates Shield launched by Ankara on August 24 to clear areas along Syria’s northern border of Daesh and YPG – the Syrian wing of PKK which is recognised as a terrorist organisation by the US, EU and Turkey.
The targets were located in the towns of Qabasin and Suflaniyah, northeast of the city of al Bab.
Meanwhile, a bomb attack by Daesh near al Bab wounded three soldiers who were evacuated alive by helicopter on Saturday and taken to the southern Turkish town of Gaziantep where one of them died from his injuries, Turkish security sources said on Sunday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a few days ago that Turkish-backed forces were just two kilometres from Daesh-held al Bab and expected to take it quickly despite some resistance.
Under Euphrates Shield, the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) has so far cleared around 1,760 square kilometres of land in northern Syria from Daesh.
The city of al Bab is of particular strategic importance to Turkey because the YPG has also been pushing to seize it. Ankara is determined to prevent the YPG from combining areas of land they control along the Turkish border.
In late 2013 the YPG claimed to have established three cantons named Afrin, Jazira and Kobane (from west to east) in northern Syria.
If the YPG takes al Bab it will have a military corridor which will allow it to join all of its cantons in northern Syria.