On Monday evening, Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) factions officially entered the northern parts of al-Bab city after a series of rapid advances towards the ISIS bastion.

Furthermore, rebel groups fighting under the FSA banner also seized the village of Bash Jurn northeast of al-Bab and the strategic ‘Tall Tawilah’ hill northwest of the city.

Preceded by a massive artillery bombardment and tens of joint Turkish and American airstrikes, FSA fighters – supported by Turkish tanks – advanced some two kilometers southwards from the village of Qudayran and seized a large farm area north of al-Bab.

Thus, Syrian rebel forces imposed full control over the al-Kassab farms, al-Nama farms, and Wadi ar-Rasif area. Notably, the FSA was able to establish fire control over the Jafirah Roundabout and capture several adjacent buildings inside al-Bab city.

Although the FSA controls less than 5% of al-Bab, it is not yet known how much resistance ISIS will put up. Fortunately for the advancing rebels, much of the Islamic State’s manpower has been diverted into defending Raqqa and Mosul, ISIS’ two largest cities.

Since Turkey launched operation ‘Euphrates Shield’ 84 days ago, Syrian rebel forces have captured 214 villages and towns from the Islamic State, often abandoned entirely by its militants during what can be seen as a large-scale gradual withdrawal.

Meanwhile, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) also seized a batch of villages east of al-Bab from ISIS; namely, Hutah, al-Qarah, Tall Turin, and Qawuqli. Effectively, Kurdish forces have enveloped the ISIS-held crossroad town of Arima on the M4-highway.

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On a separate but somewhat related frontline, SDF fighters also followed up on recent gains on Saturday and were able to capture a further two villages and one hill from ISIS in northern Raqqa; Khunayz, Khunayz Thathani and Rujm Sheikh al-Hulw.

The SDF and FSA remain at a state of war with each other despite both sides enjoying support from the United States. In fact, earlier today, Turkey even delivered artillery support for ISIS at Tall al-Jijan (west of al-Bab) in order to prevent Kurdish fighters from capturing the village and advancing towards al-Bab.

Al-Bab has been under ISIS control since 2014 when the Islamic State leadership broke off its ties with the Syrian Opposition and expelled Syrian rebels from the city.

NOTE: The above map is slightly outdated and only serves to give an overall strategic understanding of various advancing factions. Map credits to ‘Islamic World News’.

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Student currently living in Denmark. Special focus on news from Syria, MENA map-making and strategical military analysis.

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Amin

In the near future, some more 5 kilometers so called rebels move south, SAA will move north ;).

Daeshbags Sux
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Daeshbags Sux

Hard to say what will happen but Erdogan is playing a stupid game with everybody and he’s facing serious troubles as his projects are not endorsed by US, EU and Russia. I bet his support to the Ukrainian puppet govt is very well seen in Moscow…

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Amin

As far as now, all my predictions at least in Allepo have become true and this will too. SAA won’t let FSA reach villages and cities with Arabs majority. Also they won’t let ’em move toward Raqqa province and will block them as soon as they (FSA) finish Kurdish villages and cities.

Daeshbags Sux
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Daeshbags Sux

If it was Assad’s will, he wouldn’t had delivered 25 tons of ammos to YPG recently and there wouldn’t have been joint SAA/SDF operations, he wouldn’t have threatened THK aircrafts to down them if they wee going on bombing the kurds.
Now that two of the main FSA groups in Euphrates Shield are OFFICIALLY allied to Nusra, we can expect either Turkey pulling out or facing serious international problems with… Everybody…

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Amin

By the way, as soon as they see each other, they won’t engage with themselves and this area will be just an exception due to mutual interests. And I’m not a foreteller. Just believe myself. Also a good power analysis.

Daeshbags Sux
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Daeshbags Sux

Errr, Chris Thomson : Euphrates Wrath is the SDF operation to take Raqqa, the Turkish one is Euphrates Shield 😉
Now, I prefer not to think what may happen in al-Bab as… half the population is… Kurd!!! Knowing that Erdogan one said he’d attack the Kurds even if they built a country in Africa, we can expect gruesome acts in this city and nowadays, it’s not easy to shelter the truth and Turkish forces directly backing Daesh will make more than one furious and these ones are big league.

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abuqahwa

Good posts and comments. Be in no doubt that Turks are creating a permanent occupation of northern Syria to eliminate any Kurdish entity west of the Euphrates. Their determination and hatred for the Kurds has no limits. I predicted (foolish me!) that Turkey would halt their ground invasion at a west-east line Afrin – Marea – Manbij – Euphrates ( 36.5 degrees Latitude N ) but I was wrong, as TAF now giving direct fire support ( tanks, arty, CAS strikes) to their jihadi FSA mercenaries at al-Bab and NE down to new stop-line along M4 highway ? In any… Read more »

Daeshbags Sux
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Daeshbags Sux

Turks don’t give a f**k about Raqqa : their common plan with KSA and Qatar is to cut Syria in two on a NW/SE axis to put their f*****g pipeline there and avoid the Iran-Iraq-Syria-Cyprus-Greece pipeline backed by Russia. PYD is not willing to break up Syria, they favour a federal state. EU is willing to have a Rojava in Syria and KRG in Iraq all along the Turkish border as a buffer zone as they know the Kurds are not willing to let terrorists pass through. EU is also not willing Turkey do another genocide, this time against the… Read more »

hestroy
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hestroy

f*****g Turks stealing syrian land.

Daeshbags Sux
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Daeshbags Sux

Jarablus Hospital has been closed by Turkish authorities, no reason given.
comment image
=> Probably seized medical gear to sell it into Turkey?

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Daeshbags Sux

At the same time, YPG missed a SVBIED with a wire guided ATGM (very probably a Milan : TOWs have less regular fly), hopefully, there were French SOFs were around with some Javelin : Javelin strikes from above. Pretty impressive : https://twitter.com/Dalatrm/status/798207937684668416/video/1 “Pête-le! Pête-le! Pête-le!” you hear at the begining means “blow it! blow it! blow it!” “bien joué” you hear after the blow means “well done” “Attention, baissez vous” : Take care, get down “Putain” : lit. “w***e”, but used the same way english speakers place ‘f**k’ everywhere. “Ouais” (pron. Wheh) : Yeah! “Prépare un deuxième” : make a… Read more »

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abuqahwa

Great find DS – Western SOFs /FOO/ FAC/ Tacair having the time of their lives in Syria getting to test weapons equipment techniques in a hot zone – many vital lessons being learned – had to laugh when I heard Australia sending two infantry companies “to train Iraqi soldiers in urban combat “! – more likely other way round, soft Australians now observing the real side of war !

Daeshbags Sux
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Daeshbags Sux

Can’t tell on all who are implied but Frenchs forces and not only SOFs are VERY VERY VERY experienced… Our militaries get action very often especially due to numerous defence treaties with a lot of African nations. I prefer not to tell about what I’ve seen there, the only regret I have if that we didn’t acted enough fast in 1994. It was really h**l on Earth, Syrian conflict is a joke compared to it.