23 ISIL members, 1 Turkish soldier killed in clashes in northern Syria

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Turkish troops drive their tanks on September 4, 2016 on a road near the Syrian village of al-Waqf and some 3km south of al-Rai, the small border town with Turkey. Turkish forces and Syrian rebels expelled the ISIL group from the last areas of the Syrian-Turkish border under their control on September 3, 2016, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. / AFP PHOTO / Nazeer al-Khatib

Twenty-three Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorists and one Turkish soldier were killed during clashes in the Ziyara region of northern Syria, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday.

According to the report three Turkish soldiers were also wounded during the clashes east of al-Rai, which was previously seized by Free Syrian Army (FSA) members supported by the Turkish military.

The number of Turkish soldiers killed during Operation Euphrates Shield, which was launched on Aug. 24 by rebels allied with Turkey to clear the ISIL from Jarabulus and the border region, has now reached 11.

Rebels allied with Turkey on Sept. 4 declared that they had cleared terrorist ISIL elements from the last stretch of the Turkish border with Syria.

It was hallmark progress in Turkey’s bid to secure the 90-kilometer (55 miles) corridor and marks a significant step in Ankara’s plan to stop the expansion of Kurdish militias towards the west. With this, ISIL no longer controls any part of the border and has been removed from NATO’s southeastern frontier in an operation backed by Turkish tanks and troops.

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