Wave Of IS-Claimed Bombings In Syria Kill At Least 48
01:14, Sep 13, 2016
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Syrian pro-government forces backed by airstrikes launched a wide offensive in the northern city of Aleppo on Sunday, capturing areas they lost last month and nearly besieging rebel-held neighborhoods, state media and opposition activists said.
The advance comes after Turkey launched an operation on August 24 created to drive IS away from the border and also prevent the advance of Kurdish fighters.
Washington found itself trapped between two key allies who are bitter foes - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partner Turkey, and the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, also taking part in the war against the Islamic State jihadist group but considered a "terrorist" group by Ankara.
The Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army has "eliminated" ISIS and other terrorist "microbes" along a 55-mile stretch of the Syrian border, two weeks after Ankara opened a new front in its Euphrates Shield military operation in northern Syria.
The group, also known by the acronym ISIS, has suffered a string of defeats in recent months in both Syria and Iraq.
A Turkish tank heads to the Syrian border. Dogan says rockets have killed 21 Kilis residents and wounded scores since January.
The strip of land bordering Turkey and Syria has been cleared of ISIS militants, said Turkish Prime Minister Beinali Yildirim in a televised speech on Sunday. "We will stay there until we get rid of all the microbes like IS, PYD and YPG", the PM said in the Turkish city of Diyarbaki.
The U.S. has provided extensive aid and airstrikes to the People's Protection Units-led Syria Democratic Forces, which have proven to be highly effective against the Islamic State. According to reports, government forces had captured two military academy sites and cut off a supply line that the rebels had recently established.
Turkey and the US have accused Syrian Kurdish fighters of breaking promises not to seize more land along the border area.
A key regime ally, Moscow began an aerial campaign in support of President Bashar al-Assad's government last September, even as it continued to publicly support efforts for a negotiated solution to the five-year war.
The wave of attacks came a day after the militants lost a vital link to the outside world along the Syrian-Turkish border.
Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from the city of Elbeyli on the Turkish side of the Syria-Turkey border, said the rebels' offensive had forced "ISIL fighters to pull out towards al-Bab, which is their last remaining stronghold in northern Syria".
The Syrian government has also strongly denounced Turkey's incursion as a violation of its sovereignty.
The PM added Turkey will not allow for the formation of an artificial state.
Meanwhile, the recapture and return to siege of rebel-held parts of Aleppo dealt a major blow to insurgent groups and risked causing a new humanitarian crisis.
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