Turkish Soldier Killed in Advance Against ISIS-Held al-Bab
A Turkish soldier was killed on Friday as Turkey continues to back a Syrian rebel advance against the ISIS-occupied city of al-Bab in northwestern Syria, one day after three others were killed by a Syrian airstrike.
Four of the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels were also killed on Friday and 25 wounded in clashes with ISIS, Reuters reported, citing the Turkish military. Turkish jets are continuing to target ISIS in al-Bab itself.
Damascus opposes these Turkish-backed rebels taking al-Bab and has rejected the Turkish Euphrates Shield Operation launched on August 24 as a “flagrant violation” of its sovereignty.
Thursday’s bombing of Turkish soldiers carried out by a Syrian L-39 light attack plane was the first time the Syrian regime targeted and killed Turkish soldiers. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has vowed to retaliate against Damascus.
Turkey has lost 17 of its soldiers – who are playing a supporting role to the rebel army Ankara is backing – so far in this campaign. Aside from ISIS Turkey and its Syrian rebel allies have also clashed with Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters and targeted them with air and artillery strikes.
Turkey does not want the YPG, which is fighting under the banner of the larger Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Arab-Kurdish paramilitary, to advance against al-Bab since it opposes their presence in northwestern Syria.