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Bloody battle for Syria's al-Bab as Turkey tightens grip against ISIL

Bloody battle for Syria's al-Bab as Turkey tightens grip against ISIL
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By Alasdair Sandford with Reuters
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Fourteen Turkish soldiers and nearly 140 jihadist militants were killed on Tuesday as Turkey's 'Euphrates Shield' operation intensified.

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The fighting around the town of al-Bab in northern Syria has been described as some of the deadliest yet in Turkey’s four-month old “Euphrates Shield” operation against the Islamic State group.

The Turkish military said 14 of its soldiers and 138 jihadist fighters were killed on Wednesday.

Another 33 Turkish soldiers who were wounded were taken to hospital at Gaziantep in Turkey’s southeast, it added.

The military said Turkish airstrikes destroyed dozens of ISIL targets on Wednesday.

Earlier it claimed that Turkish-backed Syrian rebels had largely established control over the strategic area around al-Bab’s hospital, following weeks of attacks against the ISIL militants.

Turkey’s military operation is focused on combating ISIL or Daesh, but Ankara is also determined to prevent the Kurdish YPG militia from strengthening their presence along the Turkish-Syrian border.

SYRIA: ISIS release footage of Turkish airstrike targeting their position in al-Bab, northern Syria. pic.twitter.com/Ck4tMiBMpc

— Conflict News (@Conflicts) December 21, 2016

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