Turkey’s military on Monday said 22 militants were killed when its warplanes struck Islamic State targets in Syria.
In a roundup of its military activities over the past day in support of rebels in northern Syria, Turkey’s military says Russian aircraft destroyed IS targets near the Turkish town of al-Bab, which is controlled by Islamic State.
Turkey’s military operation, “Euphrates Shield,” began more than four months ago in an effort to force Islamic State militants away from Turkey’s border.
The force has been using Free Syrian Army fighters supported by Turkish warplanes and artillery.
Meanwhile Syrian monitors, say hundreds of civilians fled villages outside the Syrian capital on Sunday, as fighting continued for a third straight day between government forces and several rebel groups that include al-Qaida-linked jihadists excluded from last week’s cease-fire declaration.
The exodus from the Barada Valley, also reported by the Damascus government’s official news agency, is said to involve about 1,300 people seeking safety from airstrikes and artillery shelling by the Syrian military and its Russian allies.
The fighting comes, despite a truce brokered by Russia, Syria and Turkey that took effect early Friday and is said to be largely holding in other areas of the war-ravaged country.
That truce declaration excluded the Barada Valley, where al-Qaida-linked jihadists from the former al-Nusra Front are reported interspersed with rebels seeking to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
The valley’s Barada river is the primary source of water for Damascus and its surrounding area, and the new fighting is said to coincide with severe water shortages in the capital first reported December 22.