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Turkish and Russian aircraft target IS positions in al-Bab

Turkey has been supporting Free Syrian Army units to drive Islamic State and Kurdish militias out of the border area
Syrian opposition fighters fire towards positions held by Islamic State (IS) group militants in al-Bab on the northeastern outskirts of Aleppo (AFP)

Turkish forces killed 22 Islamic State militants in the northern Syrian cities of al-Bab, Bzagah and Tadif as part of the ongoing Operation Euphrates Shield, the Turkish military said in a statement on Monday.

The Turkish Armed Forces said more than 100 targets had been hit in simultaneous air and ground operations.

In addition, 103 targets were also hit by howitzers, multiple rocket launchers, mortars and tanks.

The Turkish Air Force also struck eight IS targets, including a weapons depot, headquarters and shelters. Russian planes also struck IS in Deir Qaq, 8km southwest of al-Bab, the source added.

The Turkey-led Operation Euphrates Shield, which began in late August, aims to clear the Syria-Turkey border area of militant organisations, specifically IS and the pro-Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

The IS-linked Amaq news agency released drone footage on Monday purporting to show the destruction caused in the city by the Turkish attacks:

Turkey has been supporting Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces in their campaign to drive out IS and the YPG from the area. The YPG is also advancing on al-Bab with the intention of capturing the city from IS.

FSA sources suggested at the weekend that al-Bab could be captured "within days."

“Both sides are suffering losses, but Daesh is being hit the hardest," FSA division commander Taha Atrac told Sputnik Turkey, using the alternative name for IS.

"Turkish artillery and the FSA keep pounding their positions in the north of the city, even though in the past couple of days heavy rain and fog have prevented the Turkish Air Force from hitting the jihadists’ positions."

He added there were around 1,500 FSA fighters taking part in the operation.

Turkey last week stepped up criticism of US-led anti-IS coalition forces for failing to back the Turkish incursion inside Syria with air support.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed the US for its "support" for terror organisations in Syria, claiming Washington was tacitly supporting IS.

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