Turkey-backed Syrian opposition fighters take position during their advance in the city of al-Bab, some 30 kilometres from the Syrian city of Aleppo, on February 22, 2017. (AFP photo)
DAMASCUS, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- The Islamic State (IS) group announced its withdrawal from the city of al-Bab, which has been taken by the Turkish forces and allied Syrian rebels on Thursday, according to pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV.
The withdrawal of the IS from al-Bab, its largest stronghold in northern Syria near the Turkish borders, came after 100 days of battles against the Turkish forces and allied Syrian rebels fighting in an operation called the Euphrates Shield.
The IS claimed it had killed 400 Turkish soldiers and rebel fighters.
For the Turks, capturing the northern part of the city cuts the way in the face of the growing Kurdish influence in northern Syria, a red line drawn by Turkey.
The Syrian army succeeded recently to besiege al-Bab from its southern edge, a move to prevent IS fighters to withdraw toward other stronghold in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, or the northern city of al-Raqqa, the de facto capital of the terror-designated group.
Observers said the attacks on al-Bab were coordinated between the Russians and the Turks.