Turkish army says 21 IS militants killed in Syria

Ankara, Jan 7 (IANS) At least 21 Islamic State militants were killed and 168 targets belonging to the IS were hit in Al-Bab in northern Syria in military operations in the last 24 hours, the Turkish General Staff stated on Saturday.

Turkish artillery supported by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) hit 156 identified IS targets including shelters, defensive positions, command and control buildings, weapons and vehicles. Turkish warplanes hit 12 IS targets.

The statement, cited by Xinhua, also said 43 mines and 2,794 improvised explosive devices had been defused since the start of the operation on August 24 last year.

Turkey has been pushing southward, supporting FSA forces as part of Operation Euphrates Shield, which was launched to clear IS and other terrorist organisations from Turkey’s southern borders and form a 5,000-square meter terror-free zone, according to Turkish Daily Sabah.

The Turkish armed forces launched the Euphrates Shield Operation against both the IS and the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the military wing of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).

Turkey regards the YPG and the PYD as terrorist organisations due to their links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Meanwhile, Turkish jets hit 11 PKK targets used as shelters and defensive positions in the Qandil Mountains region of northern Iraq on Friday, the military told Turkish Daily Sabah on Saturday.