Turkish Armed Forces makes al-Bab statement

Turkish Armed Forces Headquarters, Ankara.

The Turkish army’s chief of general staff’s office has issued a statement on the latest developments in al-Bab as part of its Euphrates Shield operation.

“The operation to clear al-Bab of Islamic State (IS) elements is continuing in Maskoun neighbourhood. Artillery units belonging to the land forces command shelled 70 IS positions. Planes belonging to our air forces targeted seven IS positions destroying a building used as headquarters by the terrorist group, a vehicle, a crane and an ammunition depot used by the group. In an airstrike conducted by coalition forces a bomb-laden vehicle was destroyed,” The statement reads in its entirety.

the Turkish Chief of General Staff, Hulusi Akar, had actually told reporters in Qatar yesterday that the al-Bab operation had been completed. Akar was talking to reporters about the latest situation in al-Bab when he said, “congratulations to all of us, the al-Bab operation is finished”.

On websites affiliated to the group, IS claims it still controls 90% of urban al-Bab, with fighting raging in several neighbourhoods. The Turkish Armed Forces’ statement would seem to be contradicting its highest ranked general’s earlier claims.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the UK based war monitor, said yesterday that bombardments by Turkish fighter jets killed 24 civilians, 11 of them children. The Turkish army says all those killed were terrorists.