BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the Syrian civil war (all times local):
Turkey’s state-run news agency says Turkish troops and allied Syrian rebels have driven the Islamic State group from the last strip of territory it controlled along the Syrian-Turkish border.
The advance effectively seals the extremist group’s self-styled caliphate off from the outside word, shutting down key supply lines used to bring in foreign fighters, weapons and ammunition.
The Anadolu news agency reported Sunday that Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army rebels have cleared the area between the northern Syrian towns of Azaz and Jarablus. It says the advance “has removed terror organization Daesh’s physical contact with the Turkish border in northern Syria.” Daesh is an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group.
Turkey has launched two incursions into Syria since Aug. 24 in an operation designed to drive IS away from the border and prevent the advance of U.S.-backed Kurdish forces, which are also battling the extremist group.
Syrian state media and an opposition activist group are reporting that government forces are advancing near the northern city of Aleppo in an attempt to impose a siege on rebel-held parts of the city.
Sunday’s push comes a month after insurgent groups captured several military academies south of Aleppo and opened a corridor into rebel-held parts of Syria’s largest city and former commercial center.
Since then government forces and their allies have been trying to recapture the area.
State news agency SANA quoted an unnamed military official as saying that troops have captured the Armament Academy and are “continuing their advance in the area to impose almost a total siege on the gunmen in Aleppo.”
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that government troops captured the academy.