iReportAljazeera: Turkish jets hit al-Bab in push to take ISIL's Raqqa - iReporterNG.Com | No #1 News Media in Nigeria

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iReportAljazeera: Turkish jets hit al-Bab in push to take ISIL's Raqqa

iReportAljazeera: Turkish jets hit al-Bab in push to take ISIL's Raqqa

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Turkish-backed FSA fighters have made advances on al-Bab with the assistance of the air strikes [Reuters]

Turkish forces and allied FSA fighters target al-Bab with the aim of pressing on to ISIL's main stronghold in Syria.

Turkish jets hit 15 "targets" in the al-Bab area of northern Syria on Sunday in an operation with Syrian rebels that could foreshadow a push on ISIL's de facto capital Raqqa, the Turkish military said.

Ten defensive positions, command centres and an ammunition store used by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) were destroyed in the raids, the army said in a statement.

Nine Syrian rebels were killed and 52 wounded during clashes in the area, it added.

According to Al Jazeera's Osama Bin Javaid, reporting from Gaziantep on the Turkish-Syrian border, the attack on al-Bab "started a few days ago when the Turkish military resumed air strikes on the area".

"Since then, [the Turkish-backed] FSA fighters have come much closer to retaking al-Bab", he said, using an acronym to refer to the Free Syrian Army.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said seizing control of al-Bab, around 30 km south of the border, is a goal of the operation before targeting Manbij and Raqqa.

Kurdish-led forces recently drove ISIL from Manbij, and Raqqa is considered ISIL's de facto capital.

"Al-Bab is near the border of Syria and Turkey, and is one of the last remaining [ISIL] strongholds in that area," Bin Javaid reported.

"It is strategically important because Turkey needs to take this area if they want to reclaim all territory east of the Euphrates River, which was their goal when they first launched Operation 'Euphrates Shield'."

Culled from Aljazeera
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