Islamic State ‘ousted from Turkey-Syria border’

The Islamic State jihadist group has reportedly lost control of its last strip of territory along the Syrian-Turkish border.

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The militants were driven from the area between the northern Syrian towns of Azaz and Jarablus by Turkish troops and allied Syrian rebels, a news agency claimed.

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Turkey’s state-run Anadolu agency reported the advance “has removed terror organisation Daesh’s (IS) physical contact with the Turkish border in northern Syria”.

The apparent major setback for IS means key supply lines used to bring in foreign fighters, weapons and ammunition are thought to have been shut down.

But the group still holds territory in Syria and Iraq.

Just over a week ago, Turkey began two incursions into Syria to push IS away from the border.

The operation, called Euphrates Shield, was also aimed at stopping the advance of US-backed Kurdish forces, which are also battling the extremist group.

Turkey is fighting a three-decade-old Kurdish insurgency in the southeast and fears that gains by the Syrian Kurdish YPG will embolden militants at home.

Ankara sees the YPG as a terrorist organisation and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Meanwhile, Syrian government forces are reportedly advancing near Aleppo in an attempt to besiege rebel-held parts of the northern city.

The move comes a month after insurgent groups seized several military academies south of there and opened up a corridor into Aleppo.

Since then, President Bashar al Assad’s army and its allies have been trying to take back the area.

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