The Free Syrian Army (FSA) and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have captured 24 residential areas from the Daesh terrorist group over the past 24 hours in Syria's northern town of al-Bab as part of Operation Euphrates Shield, Turkish security sources said Friday.
The sources, who spoke with Anadolu Agency (AA) on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, said Turkish troops and FSA fighters had besieged the Daesh-held town and were now on the verge of decisively capturing it.
Its recent push on al-Bab has brought the Turkish army some 35 kilometers (roughly 21.5 miles) inside Syrian territory.
The same sources said the FSA - backed by Turkish troops - had intercepted Syrian regime forces about 6 kilometers south of al-Bab, adding that Turkish/FSA fighters now stood 1 kilometer west of the town center.
Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield was launched last summer with the aim of securing Turkey's southern border, eliminating terrorist elements in northern Syria and supporting Syrian opposition forces. One aspect of the operation involves providing the FSA with Turkish artillery support and air cover. Since it began last August, more than 1,300 Daesh terrorists have reportedly been killed in the operation.
Meanwhile, Turkish airstrikes and artillery shells killed 47 Daesh terrorists as part of the operation to liberate the northern Syrian town of al-Bab, the military said on Friday. A total of 135 identified targets were shelled by the Turkish military, destroying some defense positions and command centers used by Daesh terrorists.
Turkish warplanes also hit 64 Daesh targets in the regions of al-Bab and Bzagah, destroying 45 buildings used as shelters, five headquarters, three bomb-laden vehicles, two armed vehicles, two artillery, one mortar and one arsenal belonging to the terrorist organization. In addition, Coalition Air Forces conducted a total of eight airstrikes to identified Daesh targets in the regions of al-Bab and Bzagah, destroying two defense positions, one command center and one drone.
Some 41 Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were destroyed by explosive ordnance teams over the span of 24 hours, adding up to a total of 3,632 since the beginning of the operation, while 55 mines were detonated.
The Turkish military continues to take all the necessary measures to ensure the safety of civilians in the area, the statement added.
Ankara has already vowed that Operation Euphrates Shield will continue in Manbij and Afrin, which are both held by the PKK-affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG), after al-Bab is liberated.