VIDEO: Turkey Army Says Its Forces Clear More Villages from ISIS in Syria

Tue Aug 30, 2016 07:32:05

Turkish-backed forces have cleared militants from 10 more villages in north Syria, Turkey’s military said on Monday (August 29) during a cross-border Turkish campaign that has captured a string of settlements south of the Syrian frontier town of Jarablus.

The army statement added that operations were now shifting to a more western region of northern Syria where Turkish-backed forces previously said they had taken control of a few villages. The statement did not say who the militants were.

Turkey, which is fighting a Kurdish insurgency at home, has said its aim is to drive away Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL / IS) and prevent Kurdish militia from seizing the territory.

On Monday, NATO ally the United States said it was concerned the battle for territory had shifted away from targeting Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL / IS).

At the start of Turkey’s now almost week-long cross-border offensive, Turkish tanks, artillery and warplanes provided Syrian terrorist allies the firepower to swiftly capture the Syrian frontier town of Jarablus from Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL / IS) militants.

Since then, Turkish forces have mainly pushed into areas controlled by forces aligned to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition that encompasses the Kurdish YPG militia and which has been backed by Washington to fight the terrorists.

A group monitoring the tangled, five-year-old conflict in Syria said 41 people were killed by Turkish air strikes as Turkish forces pushed south on Sunday (August 28).

Turkey denied there were any civilian deaths, saying 25 Kurdish militants were killed.

Turkey, which is battling a Kurdish insurgency on its soil, has said its campaign has a dual goal of “cleansing” the region of Islamic State (ISIS / Daesh / ISIL / IS) and stopping Kurdish forces filling the void and extending the area they control near Turkey's border.

It has put Ankara at odds with Washington and adds to tensions when Turkey’s government is still reeling from last month’s failed coup, which it says Washington was too slow to condemn.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden sought to patch up ties in a visit last week, just as Turkish forces entered Syria.

On Monday, Turkish-backed forces advanced on Manbij, a city about 30 km (20 miles) south of Turkey’s border captured this month by the SDF with U.S. help. The thud of artillery was heard from the Turkish border town of Karkamis.

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