A Daesh auto bomb on a security checkpoint controlled by Turkey-backed Syrian rebels in a village near Syria's Al-Bab has killed 35 civilians and six rebels, sources in the region said today. "When the operation is over, we will be able to say that Al-Bab has been completely cleared of Daesh [Islamic State] elements".
In a video published by the opposition-linked Step News Agency, a rebel commander stood in front of a vehicle rigged with explosives.
Al-Tawil, a member of the opposition al-Bab military council, said about four fighters manning the checkpoint were killed.
Turkey sent troops into Syria last August in an operation it said targeted not only IS but also US-backed Kurdish fighters whom it regards as terrorists.
"These people have suffered a lot", al-Tawil told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from Sousian.
Last week, the Observatory reported that more than 400 al-Bab civilians had been killed in Turkish bombardments since November.
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A separate offensive for al-Bab, launched by Syrian regime forces in mid-January, brought the Syrian Arab Army's Tiger Forces to positions 3km south of the city.
Turkish, Syrian, Russian and US-led coalition warplanes hammered al-Bab and the surrounding countryside in recent months during the battle for the city.
SOHR added that more than 124 civilians have been killed by Turkish airstrikes and shelling in the past two weeks. Al-Tawil said at least two groups of about 150 civilians had already left early Friday for al-Bab.
U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura is convening his first morning meeting with the delegation of the Syrian government, headed by Bashar al-Ja'aafari, on Thursday.
Despite major changes on the ground and in diplomatic circles since the parties last met in Geneva almost a year ago, however, expectations were low. "But we will try to control it".