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ISIS Wiped Out: Turkey declares a free land with the help of FSA

Turkey claims it has driven out IS fighters from the border territories with the help of Free Syrian Army

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Turkish tanks stationed near the Syrian border, in Karkamis, Turkey, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. Turkey's state-run news agency says Turkish tanks have entered Syria's Cobanbey district northeast of Aleppo in a "new phase" of the Euphrates Shield operation. Source: VOA

TURKEY, September 4, 2016: Turkey says it has driven out IS fighters from their last remaining strongholds along a 100-kilometer stretch of the borderland with the help of Turkish-backed Syrian rebels under the banner of the Free Syrian Army.

Turkey’s direct military involvement in the push against IS began late last month when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — responding to a civilian massacre in Turkey’s southeast — sent warplanes, tanks, and artillery to crush terror threats on the border.

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Sunday, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency said border territory stretching from Azaz northeastward to Jarablus had been cleared.

Syria's northern border with Turkey. Source: VOA
Syria’s northern border with Turkey.
Source: VOA

Those claims were confirmed by monitors from the Britain-based London-based Observatory for Human Rights. An Observatory statement said “IS has lost contact with the outside world after losing the remaining border villages between the Sajur river and the village of al-Rai.”

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Analysts say the rebel advance effectively cuts off key land routes used to supply the extremist movement with foreign recruits, weapons and ammunition.(VOA)

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Clash at UN with Russia, Syria over Syria Hospital Attacks

The United Nations said on Friday at least 18 health centers have been attacked in the past three weeks in northwestern Syria

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clash, un, russia, syria, hospital
The destroyed building of Nabd Al-Hayat hospital that was hit by an air strike is seen in Hass, Idlib province, Syria, May 6, 2019 in this still image taken from a video on May 9, 2019. VOA

The United Nations said on Friday at least 18 health centers have been attacked in the past three weeks in northwestern Syria, prompting a confrontation between western powers and Russia and Syria at the Security Council over who is to blame.

While the area is nominally protected by a Russian-Turkish deal agreed in September to avert a new battle, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces — backed by Russians — have launched an offensive on the last major insurgent stronghold. Some three million civilians are at risk, the United Nations said.

“Since we know that Russia and Syria are the only countries that fly planes in the area, is the answer … the Russian and Syrian air forces?” Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Karen Pierce said to the 15-member council on where the blame lay.

Acting U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Jonathan Cohen said Russia and Syria were responsible for the attacks on the health centers. He said it was “most alarming” that several of the centers attacked were on a list created by Russia and the United Nations in an attempt to protect them.

clash, un, russia, syria, hospital
United Kingdom Ambassador Karen Pierce address a meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Yemen, Oct. 23, 2018 at UN headquarters. VOA

Pierce said it would be “absolutely grotesque” if health facilities that provided their locations were “finding themselves being the authors of their own destruction because of deliberated targeting by the regime.”

Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the Syrian and Russian forces were not targeting civilians or civilian infrastructure and questioned the sources used by the United Nations to verify attacks on health centers.

clash, un, russia, syria, hospital
U. N. Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (OCHA) Mark Lowcock attends a news conference for the launch of the “Global Humanitarian Overview 2019” at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Dec. 4, 2018. VOA

“We categorically reject accusations of violations of international humanitarian law,” Nebenzia told the council. “Our goal is the terrorists.”

An array of insurgents have a foothold in northwestern Syria – Idlib province and a belt of territory around it. The most powerful is the jihadist Tahrir al-Sham, the latest incarnation of the former Nusra Front which was part of al Qaeda until 2016.

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U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock told the Security Council he did not know who was responsible, but “at least some of these attacks are clearly organized by people with access to sophisticated weapons including a modern air force and so called smart or precision weapons.”

Lowcock said 49 health centers had partially or totally suspended activities, some for fear of being attacked, while 17 schools have been damaged or destroyed and many more closed. He said that in the past three weeks up to 160 people have been killed and at least 180,000 people displaced.

U.N. political affairs chief Rosemary DiCarlo warned the Security Council: “If the escalation continues and the offensive pushes forward, we risk catastrophic humanitarian fallout and threats to international peace and security.” (VOA)