By Mohamed Misto, Halit Suleiman, Selen Temizer and Ramazan Ercan
The Free Syrian Army (FSA), backed by the Turkish military, has taken control of "almost all" of Syria’s strategic town of Al-Bab, Turkish defense minister confirmed Thursday.
“Almost all of al-Bab is under control now, and a sweep operation is ongoing," Fikri Isik told reporters in the Aegean coastal city of Izmir.
"When the operation is over, we will be able to say that Al-Bab has been completely cleared of Daesh elements."
An FSA commander said earlier Thursday that FSA fighters were clearing the town of landmines and booby traps planted in the area by Daesh terrorists.
"The center of Al-Bab is now under opposition control," FSA Commander Ahmed al-Shahabi told Anadolu Agency.
"We are advancing cautiously due to the many mines and explosives left behind," he said.
The Turkish-led Operation Euphrates Shield aims to provide security, support U.S.-led coalition forces, and eliminate the terrorist presence along Syria’s northern border with Turkey.
The operation, which began last summer, relies heavily on FSA fighters backed by Turkish artillery and air support.
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