Turkey’s military says Russian aircraft have carried out three air strikes over the past 24 hours targeting Islamic State (IS) militants in northern Syria, in what appears to be the first Russian support for Turkish forces in the area.
The military said in a statement on December 30 the air strikes killed 12 IS fighters in the Syrian town of Al-Bab, where Turkish forces launched an operation in August to push back IS from the border region.
THE IS CONTROLLED TOWN HAS BEEN BESIEGED BY TURKISH BACKED REBELS
The IS-controlled town has been besieged by Turkish-backed rebels for several weeks.
The strikes came as a nationwide truce in Syria, brokered by Russia and Turkey, took effect at midnight and appeared to be holding in spite of reports of isolated clashes.
Separately, the military said that one Turkish soldier was killed and five others wounded in an IS attack in the Azraq area, west of Al-Bab. It said Turkish planes carried out air strikes in Al-Bab and Daglabash, killing 26 IS fighters.
On December 26, Turkey called on the U.S.-led coalition against IS to provide air support for the operation around Al-Bab.
TURKEY’S OPERATIONS IN SYRIA ARE ALSO DESIGNED TO HALT THE ADVANCES
Turkey’s operations in Syria are also designed to halt the advances of the Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara sees as a hostile force.
The Turkish military said on December 30 that 1,171 IS militants and 291 Kurdish fighters had been killed since the start of Turkey’s incursion into Syria on August 24.