By Sertac Bulur
Syrian opposition forces backed by the Turkish military on Monday captured several areas near the Syrian city of Azaz and the town of Al-Rai in Aleppo’s countryside from the Daesh terrorist group, according to the leadership of Turkey’s General Staff.
Four Turkish Special Forces divisions -- backed by Turkish airstrikes and artillery -- took part in the fighting, which comes within the context of Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield, the codename for ongoing Turkish intervention in northern Syria against Daesh.
International coalition warplanes did not participate in the fighting, Turkish military officials said, adding that captured areas were now being cleared of mines and explosive devices.
During the course of the fighting, Turkish tanks, artillery and mortar fire destroyed 91 Daesh targets, while Turkish warplanes -- using highly-accurate guided munitions -- carried out tactical strikes against seven Daesh structures.
Two Syrian opposition fighters were killed in Monday’s fighting, while no casualties were sustained among Turkish military personnel, according to Turkish military officials.
On Aug. 24, Turkish Special Forces units -- backed by a 60-nation air coalition led by the U.S. -- launched Operation Euphrates Shield to help the opposition Free Syrian Army capture northern Syria’s Daesh-held city of Jarabulus, which quickly fell before the onslaught.
In addition to capturing Jarabulus, Operation Euphrates Shield is aimed at expelling terrorist groups -- especially Daesh -- from regions of northern Syria near the Turkish border.
According to Turkish military officials, the entire region between Jarabulus and Azaz has now been cleared of terrorist elements and there are no more areas near the Turkish border under Daesh’s control.