ISIS’s largest remaining stronghold in the province of Aleppo is in trouble as the FSA fighters have exhausted the long-lasting buffer zone north of the town of Albab.
The Turkish-backed FSA fighters have managed to capture the villages of Qubbat Al-Sheikh, Al-Hadath, Suwaysan, Hajji Kusa, Halisa Al-Kabira, Aq Tash, Hazwan, Wiqah, Dana, Qudayran, and Buzlijah Al-Gharbiyah in the past 24 hours leaving them less than 2 km away from the strategic town.
In a matter of a day or two, the FSA groups managed to clear 10 km of territory in the direction of Albab. These FSA gains are part of the Turkish-backed operation Shield of the Euphrates, which began in August 24 and aims to oust ISIS from all of northern Aleppo and create a safe zone for civilians fleeing the Russian and Assad regime aerial bombardment. In total, the Shield of the Euphrates Operation has managed to secure approximately 2,500 km squared since August.
The operation began with the capture of the border town of Jarablos after which the FSA fighters advanced on the town of Alraei to the south.
Turkish Armed Forces said in a statement on Monday that Turkish warplanes bombed 15 ISIS positions on the outskirts of Albab on Sunday and destroyed defensive positions, command centers, and an ammunition depot.
Turkish government spokesman Noman Kortolmos on Monday said that the Turkish Air Force is providing aerial support for operation Shield of the Euphrates in order to cleanse terrorist groups from the border with Syria and establish of a safe zone.
Albab lies around 30 kilometers south of the Turkish border and has a population of about 200,000. The capture of the town, which fell to the ISIS extremist group in January 2014, will foil plans by the PYD militia to expand their control to all northern Syria.
The FSA groups said that their next target will be the PYD-held town of Manbej to the east, adding they aim to force the PYD militia to retreat to the eastern bank of the Euphrates River.
The Syrian Coalition stressed that the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria is an urgent need to protect civilians from systematic bombing by the Assad regime and Russian air forces. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office)