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IS landmines kill 21 Syrian FSA soldiers in single day

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights describe the recent death toll as the highest loss of life for forces involved in the Turkish-led operation
Turkey began its intervention in Northern Syria with the FSA in late August (AFP)

At least 21 Syrian rebels fighting alongside Turkish troops in northern Syria were killed in a single day by by IS-planted landmines, an activist group said on Monday. 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the death toll was the highest loss of life for forces involved in the operation since it began in late August. 

The UK-based group said that 21 rebels were killed and many seriously injured while attempting to secure the village of Turkman Barah, near the IS-held town of Dabiq in Aleppo province.

Turkish troops however were not mentioned among the casualties by the group.

IS withdrew from the village on Sunday but heavily mined the area before it left, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The militant group often use the tactic of laying down mines and booby-traping buildings before being driven out from areas previously under its control. 

Abdel Rahman said the death toll prompted the rebel forces to redeploy outside Turkman Barah.

Turkey began its unprecedented operation inside Syria, dubbed operation "Euphrates Shield", in late August. 

Ankara says it is targeting IS but also Kurdish fighters from the YPG, which Turkey considers to be a "terrorist" group.

The YPG has been a key ally of the US-led coalition fighting IS and has seized large swathes of territory from the militant group, raising concerns in Ankara about the creation of a contiguous semi-autonomous Kurdish region along the Syria-Turkey border.

The Turkish operation's biggest success so far has been the capture of the former IS-held border town of Jarabulus, also in Aleppo province.

The Turkish-backed Syrian rebels have this month pushed towards Dabiq, which holds symbolic importance for IS because of a Sunni prophecy that states it will be the site of an end-of-times battle between Christian and Muslim forces.