Clashes in Northern Syria Kill 15 Turkish-Backed Fighters

lllThe Turkish military announced on Monday that 15 of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters it is militarily backing in northern Syria have been killed in clashes over the past 24 hours.

Agencies reported that the clashes came as Turkish military forces on the border also fired at ISIS positions in Syria, after ISIS fired rockets at the border-town of Kilis.

Kilis has been routinely targeted by the militants since last January, killing tens of civilians.

Also, the US-led coalition carried out 11 airstrikes against Islamic State (ISIS) positions, reportedly killing 13 of the militants.

Since intervening in northern Syria on August 24 Turkish jets, Special Forces and tanks have been supporting the advance of several hundred of these FSA fighters against ISIS along the border. Turkey hopes to create a “safe zone” on that part of the Syrian border to prevent its Syrian Kurdish adversaries from advancing there.

The US supports Turkey in its efforts to push ISIS away from the border. It has also insisted that the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia that Turkey opposes withdraw from that part of the border to the eastern side of the Euphrates River. However, given its support to both Ankara and the YPG in the war against ISIS, the US has sought to encourage both sides to avoid any further clashes and focus on the fight against ISIS.

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