Army, US-led coalition kill 20 DAESH terrorists in northern Syria

Published 25.06.2016 00:52

The Turkish Armed Forces and the U.S.-led coalition pounded at least 20 DAESH members in northern Syria during a military operation on Thursday, the military announced Friday.

According to the statement by the General Staff, 34 targets in three air strikes were destroyed in the joint operation against the terrorist group, which was reportedly preparing to attack Turkey from northern Syria.

The coalition has stepped up air strikes against DAESH in the area in recent weeks, in response to rocket attacks by the militants on the Turkish border town of Kilis.

The southeastern province of Kilis has faced a spate of cross-border rocket attacks from DAESH in recent months.

It has been under indiscriminate rocket attacks from neighboring Syria since mid-January. Twenty people in Kilis have been killed and almost 70 others wounded by rockets that fell in the city.

Officially recognizing DAESH as a terrorist organization on Oct. 10, 2013, Turkey continues to fight the group with both military precautions along the Syrian border and extensive investigations in the country to cut off supply and recruitment routes.

Elsewhere, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are dominated by the PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG), pushed into the DAESH's bastion city of Manbij in northern Syria on Thursday, a monitoring group said.

Fighters from the SDF managed to enter the city with support from air strikes by a U.S.-led coalition, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"The SDF entered Manbij from the south under cover of coalition air raids," said observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman.

He said there was "fierce street fighting between buildings" and that at least two SDF fighters had died when a bomb went off in a residential building.

Rahman said the SDF was able to break through DAESH defenses a few hours after taking control of a village on the city's southwestern outskirts.

He added progress was likely to be slow as SDF forces were facing booby-traps "planted by the jihadists to try to prevent the loss of the city."

The SDF has faced fierce resistance from DAESH since launching the assault to take Manbij on May 31. It managed to encircle the city earlier this month but its advance slowed as DAESH fought back, with their attacks including almost daily suicide bombings.

The militants have held the city since 2014, the year DAESH seized control of large parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq and declared its "caliphate".

Manbij had a population of about 120,000 before the start of Syria's civil war in 2011. It is a key location in DAESH-controlled territory on the right bank of Euphrates River.

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