IS kills over a dozen Turkey-backed Syrian rebels
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The Islamic State (IS) killed at least 15 Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) militants in northern Syria on Monday, according to the Turkish Army.
An army statement cited by the Turkish Hurriyet newspaper said the FSA rebels were killed in the last 24 hours of the Operation Euphrates Shield, adding that 35 others were wounded.
The operation was aimed at preventing Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from further gains on the west of the River Euphrates and to drive IS from the southern Turkish border.
The offensive commenced on Aug. 24, with the capture of the border town of Jarablus in less than 24 hours.
Several casualties were the result of landmines planted by IS near the Akhtarin and Turkman Bareh villages east of the FSA-held border town of Azaz.
Arab nationalist and Islamist factions of the FSA are supported with airstrikes by Turkey and the US-led coalition, the former providing them with ground troops, tanks, and artillery.
The Turkish Army statement also said airstrikes by the anti-IS Coalition killed 13 insurgents.
A Monday daily factsheet released by the Combined Joint Task Force of the Coalition read that seven airstrikes were conducted on Sunday near Maraa, an FSA stronghold near the Turkish border where the offensive against IS is underway.
Turkey has so far officially lost 10 soldiers in clashes with IS militants and the YPG, both of which it considers terror groups.
The fighting between Kurdish and Turkish forces in the early phases of the Euphrates Shield calmed down after the US repeatedly voiced strong discontent and urged both sides to focus on the fight against IS.
The FSA and Turkish Army are now focused on offensives in the village of Dabiq near Akhtarin.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany