Daesh announces withdrawal from Syria's Al Bab
The Islamic State (ISIL or Daesh, outlawed in Russia) terrorist group has started to leave the besieged northern Syrian town of Al Bab, media reports said Thursday.
The Daesh has announced the start of its withdrawal from the town, which is currently under siege by Turkish and Syrian forces, the Al Mayadeen channel reported.
Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters said that Al Bab was fully under their control earlier in the day. Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik later stated that most of the town was under Syrian opposition control after the fighters entered the town center, Sputnik reports.
Turkish-backed forces made advances into the town earlier this month. The town's remaining jihadist-held areas thus came under siege as the Syrian army had approached Al Bab from the south earlier on, cutting off militant retreat routes.
The Euphrates Shield operation by Turkey and Syrian opposition started on August 24 after Turkish troops crossed into Syria. The city of Jarabulus in northern Syria was captured before the offensive on Al Bab began. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the aim of the operation was to clear the region of terrorists and make it a safety zone for refugees.
The operation has been widely criticized both by the Syrian Kurds and Damascus, who have accused Ankara of violating Syria's territorial integrity.
The Daesh took over Al Bab in 2013 as it spread throughout Syria amid the country’s ongoing civil war.