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Turkish Airstrikes, Artillery Target 150 ISIL Positions during Al-Bab Operation

11 February 2017, 12:38 | Jamie Ballard

CIA director Mike Pompeo arrives in Turkey: report

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed condolences in a telephone conversation with Turkish counterpart Tayyip Recip Erdogan. Turkish troops, tanks and armored vehicles recently entered the town and are now engaged in fierce clashes with Daesh terrorists inside al-Bab as the fall of the town is expected to take place soon.

Meanwhile, separate operations by Turkey and Assad's forces, backed by Moscow, were trapping the jihadists inside Al-Bab. Coalition aircraft hit six Daesh targets in northern Syria within 24 hours, the statement said.

Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters resumed a major offensive inside the Islamic State-held city of al-Bab on Thursday, a day after they broke through IS defences in its remaining stronghold in Aleppo province.

One of the key reasons why ISIS has survived and grown in strength over the last few years is that conflicts between its "enemies" have always prevented them from working together against it.

Turkey and its FSA rebel allies have carved out a de facto buffer zone in northern Syria in territory captured from Islamic State since August in their "Euphrates Shield" operation.

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There is not yet an agreement on who will storm Al-Bab, and how.

Turkey is investigating the "unfortunate accident" that martyred three of its soldiers in a Russian airstrike, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said Friday.

The Kremlin said that the leaders agreed after the incident to "enhance military coordination in the course of the operation in Syria against the Islamic State fighters and other extremist organisations".

Pahon also said that Turkish and US authorities have been exchanging views regarding al-Bab for months. "On February 9, around 08:40 local time (05:40 GMT) a bomb dropped by a Russian warplane targeting the IS facilities, hit a building where there were several Turkish military servicemen", Turkey's General Staff said in a statement.

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