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War in Syria – FSA Fighters with Turkish Forces During Clashes Around al-Bab
The Battle of al-Bab includes a military offensive launched by Syrian rebel groups (including groups affiliated with the Free Syrian Army) and the Turkish Armed Forces north of al-Bab in the Aleppo Governorate, and a separate Syrian Democratic Forces offensive east of the city. The northern operation intends to capture al-Bab from the Islamic State as part of the Turkish military operation in Syria.
Al-Bab is a town administratively belonging to the Aleppo Governorate. Al-Bab is located 40km northeast of Aleppo, 30km south of the Turkish border, and has an area of 30 square kilometres (12 square miles).
In December 2016, following the fall of Aleppo to the Syrian government with assistance from Russia and Turkey, al-Bab came under renewed attack by Syrian rebels backed by Turkey.
The rebels moved their focus from the western countryside of al-Bab so to avoid confrontation with the Syrian Democratic Forces, and launched an assault against the Islamic State north of al-Bab.
Rebel forces managed to enter the northern outskirts of al-Bab, but were facing stiff resistance.
After failing to penetrate al-Bab from the north or west, rebel and Turkish forces started assaults from the east. On 8 January, Turkish-backed rebels captured Um Adasa and Makri Hill near Bizaah. The next day, the rebels once again advanced near Bizaah, capturing Zammar and Asfar Tepe. With these advances, the rebels were attempting to flank al-Bab from the east. Still, in the period between 1 and 14 January, the rebels made eight attempts to capture the nearby village of Al-Suflaniyah, with all of them being repelled. At one point, on 13 January, the rebels managed to capture Suflaniyah temporarily, but had to retreat from it after an IS counter-attack.
The Syrian Army launched an assault led by Tiger Forces on 17 January from the south, capturing a village to the south of the city. The United States Armed Forces meanwhile stated that they had carried out airstrikes against ISIL near al-Bab. Russia and Turkey meanwhile carried out their first joint airstrikes against ISIL, targeting it in suburbs of al-Bab.
Battle of al-Bab continues.
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