Operation ‘Euphrates Shield’ is in full swing as Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) groups have taken control of another crucial ISIS controlled town in Aleppo province.
In the early hours of Tuesday evening, the FSA imposed full control over Qabasin after rebel reinforcements poured into the town from its northern and western flank. Qabasin is located directly northeast of al-Bab while its capture represents a Euphrates Shield outflanking manuever on al-Bab, the ultimate prize for the FSA.
Footage of Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army groups capturing Qabasin near al-Bab. Primarily Arab fighters but major Turkmen contingents. pic.twitter.com/vEVx1NYtg1
— Chris Tomson (@TheDaneChris) November 16, 2016
Notably, the rebel advance has created an ISIS bulge of some 10 vulnerable villages between Qabasin and al-Arimah; the latter town represents a region where the predominately Kurdish ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ have also been advancing in recent days.
Meanwhile, despite ongoing Turkish artillery and aerial support, FSA units found their positions in the northern part of al-Bab indefensible and have now relocated approximately one kilometer north of the city.
— Chris Tomson (@TheDaneChris) November 15, 2016
Effectively, the Islamic State has reestablish full control over al-Bab for the time being. However, new FSA assaults – supported by Turkish tanks – are expected to target the city in the coming days.
Although many villages captured during Euphrates Shield were conceded by ISIS without any clashes, booby traps and mines have served to inflict heavy casualties among rebel ranks.
ISIS also destroyed two Turkish tanks today, utilizing anti-tank missiles:
— Jacm (@JACM212) November 15, 2016
In fact, on Tuesday morning, two FSA commanders of the ‘Sultan Murad Division’, namely Ismail Abdulcelil and Arab Abo Ismael, were killed by Islamic State IED’s.