ISIS Town of al-Bab Surrounded by Syrian, Turkish Troops

Aleppo Province Town Marks Frontier Between Govt, Turkish-Held Territory

The last significant ISIS-held town in the Aleppo Province, al-Bab is in a particularly dire position tonight, surrounded on both sides by enemy forces, with Syrian military forces in the south and west and Turkish military forces in the north and east.

Turkey has been trying to capture al-Bab for over a month, albeit unsuccessfully. As Syrian forces fought off al-Qaeda fighters around the outskirts of the city of Aleppo, immediately west of al-Bab, they’ve found themselves on the town’s outskirts as well.

This leaves ISIS with another enemy force to contend with, and further complicates the situation because the Turkish military isn’t on particularly good terms with Syria’s own military, and while the two sides are nominally both party to the current ceasefire, it might not take much for them to start fighting either.

In the past, ISIS has occasionally benefited from the multilateral fighting bringing other groups into conflict with one another. In this case, however, they are smack in the middle of the potential fighting, and their town risks being the prize over which the two sides are at odds.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.