Facing growing ISIS resistance to their invasion of the city of al-Bab and a growing casualties among their soldiers, Turkish forces have launched a flurry of airstrikes against the city of the past 24 hours, with indications that the victims were overwhelmingly civilian bystanders.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported at least 88 civilians killed between Thursday evening and Friday morning in the strikes, including 27 children. They described the attacks as a “massacre,” and noted that the death tolls would’ve been lower, except that a Turkish blockade of the city has meant most medical supplies are unavailable.
Turkey’s own official statement on the matter claimed only that they had “neutralized” 40 ISIS fighters in the city since Thursday, but no confirmation has yet been offered for that, and as usual the Turkish military’s statement didn’t mention civilian bystanders.
Al-Bab is directly east of Aleppo, and the last major city belonging to ISIS in the immediate area. Turkish officials have indicated that after Bab falls, thedy intend to move eest into Manbij, a city along the Euphrates River which is currently under the control of the Kurdish YPG.