Turkey, Syrian Rebels Kill 68 ISIS Fighters Near al-Bab

Heavy Fighting Around al-Bab Has Led to Major Civilian Toll

by Jason Ditz, December 25, 2016

Heavy fighting in and around the ISIS city of al-Bab in northern Syria’s Aleppo Province has raged throughout the week, and Turkish officials have reported at least 68 ISIS fighters killed in fighting and airstrikes since Friday night, on top of 40 reported killed on Friday itself.

Thursday and Friday saw the airstrikes killing a large number of civilians, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reporting 88 civilians were killed by Turkish airstrikes in just about 24 hours. The Turkish government never addressed the civilian deaths.

Nor did they over the weekend, for in spite of the report of substantial ISIS casualties, Turkey did not offer any figures on casualties among their own forces, or the Syrian rebel factions that are backing them in the invasion. They also did not mention any civilian deaths.

A city of about 60,000, al-Bab is due east of Aleppo, and one of the last significant cities held by ISIS in the area west of the Euphrates. Turkey has indicated that after the city has fallen they will advance against Kurdish forces in Manbij, before pushing into the area around the ISIS capital of Raqqa. ISIS still controls substantial territory around Raqqa, as well as much of Deir Ezzor Province and the city of Palmyra.

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