Russia Launches Airstrikes Backing Turkey’s Advance on ISIS-Held City

22 ISIS Reported Killed in Strikes Around North Syrian City

by Jason Ditz, January 02, 2017

With their mutli-week offensive against the major ISIS-held city of al-Bab going very slowly, Turkey has been courting international help, particularly from the US-led coalition, to get the job done. They seem to have gotten their support from a different source, however.

Today, while Turkish warplanes and artillery were attacking ISIS targets, the Russian military also carried out airstrikes against ISIS targets to the southwest of the city. Between the two nations, they reported some 22 ISIS fighters killed in the attacks.

Turkey and Russia have long been at odds on the Syrian Civil War, and in 2015 Turkey even shot down a Russian warplane. Relations have improved, however, with the two brokering a high-profile ceasefire across Syria, which excludes ISIS, and this may further bolster Russia and Turkey in their cooperation.

Al-Bab, just east of Aleppo, is ISIS’ last significant city in Aleppo Province, with Turkey’s invasion having seized the rest of the ISIS territory therein. Turkey says their offensive will do further east, into the city of Manbij, after Bab falls, though Bab has taken a lot longer than most reports would’ve indicated.

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