World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey has been seeking to liberate the ISIL-held town of Al-Bab in northern Syria and keep the PKK/PYD terror from its border with a view to maintaining border security and ensuing the safety of Syrian refugees.
Located 30 kilometers from the Turkish border, Al-Bab (the door in Arabic) used to be home to around 64,000 people – mainly Sunni Arabs -- before the eruption of the Syrian civil war in 2011.
The town was famous as one of the active trade centers in Syria and has a special location as it is located on many roads connecting the cities of Latakia, Aleppo, Raqqa, al-Hasakah and Iraq’s Mosul.
The Turkish army has been supporting opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters to liberate Al-Bab from ISIL, a strategic city for the extremist group. Saturday marks the 123rd day since the city was surrounded with a view to liberating it.
The operation is part of the Turkish-led Operation Euphrates Shield, which began in late August with the aim of improving security, supporting coalition forces, and eliminating the extrem threat along Turkey’s border.
Around 840 square kilometers between the Syrian cities of Azaz and Jarabulus have been cleared from ISIL militants since the operation was launched in August.
Clearing the town from the extremist group will keep ISIL militants 30-35 kilometers from the Turkish border and will help create a safe area for Syrian refugees.
The operation is also meant to keep the town away from the Assad regime forces and PKK/PYD extremists, which seeks to create a “state” in northern Syria.
The PKK/PYD failure to capture Al-Bab town means that it will not be able to connect Manbij city on the west bank of Euphrates River with Afrin city near the Turkish border.
On Nov. 13, Turkish forces-backed FSA fighters managed to capture positions two kilometers from Al-Bab.
And on Dec. 9, the FSA began to advance on the town’s center, but they were met with fierce resistance as ISIL militants used car bombs and booby traps to hinder the FSA advance into the town.
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