Turkey says IS driven from Turkish-Syrian border

Turkey says IS driven from Turkish-Syrian border

Turkey says IS driven from Turkish-Syrian border

On Sunday, intense aerial and artillery attacks helped government forces and their allies drive insurgents out of the Ramousah military complex in Aleppo, according to rebels and a monitoring group.

Turkey says Turkish-backed rebels battling Islamic State extremists on the Syrian border have driven IS fighters from their last remaining strongholds along a 100-kilometer stretch of borderland.

The LCC said Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army rebels captured the village of Tweiran, to the south of al-Rai, from IS on Sunday. Pro-government forces are trying to regain the entire city by surrounding it and cutting the supply line.

The spokesman from the rebels' Sultan Murad Division said that the next phase of the operation would be to advance southward toward Al-Bab, the town where Turkish military officials believe Islamic State fighters may have fallen back and are holing up.

Once Syria s economic powerhouse, the city has been ravaged by the war that began with anti-government protests in March 2011.

A Turkish tank heads to the Syrian border Friday in Karkamis, Turkey.

The siege prompted worldwide concern, with aid agencies urging 48-hour ceasefires to ensure humanitarian access.

Moscow has backed Assad in the war and Russian warplanes have targeted the opposition for almost a year, while Washington has supported some rebel groups fighting under the banner of the Free Syrian Army to topple him.

Turkey's incursion into Syria adds a further layer of complexity to the country's unrelenting five-year civil war, which has devastated the country, cost hundreds of thousands of lives, sparked a refugee crisis and drawn in regional and world powers.

In Hangzhou, China, meanwhile, President Barack Obama said the US and Russian Federation have not given up on negotiations to halt the bloodshed in Syria, but acknowledged that "gaps of trust" exist between the rival powers. A senior State Department official, who declined to be named, said Russian Federation had walked back on some of issues that the sides had already agreed on, which is why both sides need to continue talking.

Talks by the Cold War foes on a ceasefire were set to continue on Monday, but "we're not there yet", U.S. President Barack Obama told reporters at the G20 summit in the Chinese city of Hangzhou.

"We're going to review some ideas tonight, a couple things on these couple of tough issues, and come back together and see where we are", said Kerry.

Washington is opposed to Assad's government, but has been accused by the opposition of failing to deliver concrete support. "The (rebel-held) neighborhoods are under siege again", said the Observatory's chief, Rami Abdurrahman, by telephone.

The Turkey-backed rebels, primarily Ahrar al-Sham and a faction of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), have said they had only 1,000 - 1,200 troops in Jarabulus.

The Euphrates Shield operation started on August 24 in the northern Syrian city of Jarablus when Turkish forces crossed into Syria under the pretext of targeting Islamic State positions along the border.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which maintains a network of contacts inside Syria, put the overall death toll at 53.

Ankara fears their advance will embolden Kurdish militants on its own soil.

While Turkey and its rebel proxies have targeted ISIL in their campaign, they have also targeted the Kurdish YPG forces - U.S. allies that have been the most effective fighting force on the ground against ISIL in Syria, but a group that Ankara considers to be terrorists.

But the group still holds territory in Syria and Iraq.

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