The number of Turkish soldiers killed in Syria following fierce fighting with ISIL has risen from 14 to 16, Ankara has confirmed.
33 other Turkish troops were also wounded in Wednesday’s battle around the strategic northern Syrian town of al-Bab. Nearly 140 jihadists reportedly died in the clashes.
It is the Turkish military’s biggest single-day loss since its four-month campaign, Euphrates Shield, began inside Syria.
Addressing parliament Turkey’s Defence Minister Fehmi Isik said:
‘‘An area of 2,000 square kilometres has been cleansed of terrorists. 225 districts have been liberated. Up to today, 1005 terrorists from the Daesh terror organisation have been neutralsed within the realms of the Euphrates Shield military operation.’‘
The Turkish military operation is focused on combating ISIL or Daesh, but Ankara has also heavily targeted Kurdish militia along its border with Syria.
ISIL is reported to have used multiple suicide bombers in Wednesday’s battle and many of the Turkish army’s wounded were rushed to hospital in the city of Gaziantep in Turkey’s south-east.