15 Turkey-Backed Rebels Killed in Syria Fighting

15 Turkey-Backed Rebels Killed in Syria Fighting15 Turkey-Backed Rebels Killed in Syria Fighting

Clashes in northern Syria have killed 15 Turkey-backed rebels fighting the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group in the last 24 hours, according to the Turkish military that launched a cross-border incursion in late August.

The latest fighting marks an escalation since Turkish troops crossed the border into Syria on Aug. 24 to back opposition fighters battling IS.

Turkey says the operation is aimed at removing the border threat posed by the militants, Reuters reported.

Turkish special forces and the air force are providing support to the rebels, who are engaged in intense fighting with IS near the towns of Azaz and al-Rai, the military said in a statement. The operation continued on Monday, it said.

The army also fired on IS targets from inside Turkey after the militants used rockets to target the Turkish border town of Kilis, damaging buildings, it said.

Turkey says international law gave it the right to enter Syria, in an operation it has dubbed "Euphrates Shield," to cleanse its border region of IS militants who had launched attacks on Turkish cities. It says the operation also aims to restrict Syrian Kurds allied with the United States against IS from making territorial gains and moving closer to self-rule.

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