16 Turkish soldiers killed in fierce Bab battle, Syria

A total of 16 Turkish soldiers were killed on Wednesday in an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attack in the northern Syrian city of al-Bab, as Turkish troops and Ankara-backed Syrian rebels battle to take the town from jihadists.

Turkey’s Minister Fikri Işık said, “”Over 1,000 Daesh terrorists have been killed since the beginning of the Euphrates Shield operation,” said the Turkish defense minister.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, “Our struggle is not an ordinary struggle. We have 16 martyrs; around 200 Daesh fighters have been killed,” using an Arabic acronym for ISIL. “We could not stay silent against those that threaten our country, and we are doing what is necessary,” he added.

“Turkey should continue being determined during its second biggest fight not to become the loser of the game as the time Turkey was pushed to sign the Treaty of Sèvres,” Erdoğan encouraged, referring to the treaty that marked the beginning of the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire, and its ultimate annihilation. “As many as 16 soldiers were martyred in the al-Bab district of Syria, while 200 Daesh terrorists were killed. While we are fighting against terrorists in Syria, we have been conducting talks with Russia, United States, Iran, Iraq and Qatar,” Erdoğan explained.

“They attempt to cause suffering by martyring Turkish soldiers. But we will beat them and become stronger,” Erdoğan vowed.

Erdoğan’s remarks came after Daesh terrorists attacked the Turkish Armed Forces stationed in Al-Bab, Syria.

Moreover; “Turkey is in the midst of a great struggle – our fight against terror continues both in our country and outside our borders,” Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said.

“This is an existential struggle for Turkey. This is a great battle in the name of Turkey’s unity. We will always guard this unity to the end in the face of terror,” Yıldırım added.

Albanian President Bujar Nishani, Erdoğan expressed confidence that al-Bab would be taken from ISIL. “Al-Bab has been completely besieged by the Free Syrian Army and our soldiers,” he said.

He also expressed hope that the town “would fall entirely sooner or later” and that the residents of al-Bab could find a chance to settle on their own territory.

Operation Euphrates Shield began in late August to improve security, support coalition forces and eliminate the terror threat along Turkey’s border using Free Syrian Army fighters backed by Turkish artillery and jets. Besides, the operation is largely focused on combating Islamic State, but Ankara is also determined to prevent the Kurdish YPG militia, which it sees as a hostile force, from linking cantons it controls along the border.