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Euphrates Shield: Dozens of Turkish-backed rebels killed in Syria

Turkey-backed Syrian rebels are fighting the Islamic State group in northern Syria [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 3 October, 2016

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At least 15 Syrian rebels and 13 Islamic State militants have been killed in the last 24 hours of Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkey has confirmed.

At least 15 Turkey-backed Syrian rebels have been killed in clashes across northern Syria, Ankara confirmed on Monday, during the latest Turkish assault on the Islamic State group.

Thirteen Islamic State militants were also killed in the latest escalation of violence since Ankara launched a cross-border offensive against the group in late August.

On Sunday, Ankara said the rebels managed to take control of over 960 sq. km of IS territory in Aleppo province, including 111 residential areas, as part of the “Euphrates Shield” offensive.

International coalition airstrikes on the Syrian villages of Turkman Bareh, Akhtarein, Ghaytoun and Kabiya left seven IS positions destroyed, including some of the groups’ headquarters.

Ankara launched operation “Euphrates Shield” on August 24, affirming international law gave it the right to enter Syria to cleanse its border region of Islamic State militants who had launched several attacks on Turkish cities in recent months.

On Saturday, Turkey’s parliament approved a one-year extension to an existing mandate to deploy Turkish army personnel in Syria and Iraq.

The extension of the mandate – originally approved by parliament in October 2014 and first extended in September 2015 – permits Turkish military action against the Islamic State and other groups deemed by Ankara to be terrorists such as the Syrian Kurdish political group the Popular Protection Units (YPG), which is thought to have close relations with the Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

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