Turkey-led forces (the Turkish Armed Forces and pro-Turkey militants) have been developing a military operation aimed to encircle the ISIS-held town of al-Bab (more about the importance of al-Bab can be found here) in the Syrian province of Aleppo.
Turkish forces outflanked the ISIS-held town from the western direction and reached al-Bab’s southwestern outskirts. In a separate flanking maneuver, pro-Turkey militants, supported by the Turkish military, outflanked the ISIS-controlled town of Qabasin.
The recent developments show that the Turkish military leadership decided to outflank and even encircle ISIS forces in the area of al-Bab, Qabasin and Bazagha. This will allow them to avoid a direct storm of the ISIS-held settlements – pro-Turkey militants have a lack of motivation level of training; experts say that the recent gains of the so-called “oppposition” in northern Syria became possible only due to a direct participation of the Turkish Ground Forces in the operation.
Another important issue is that if this maneuver succeeds, Turkey will allow to prevent Kurdish YPG forces from reaching al-Bab from any direction and the Kurds will be pushed to engage Turkey-led forces if they want to take control of al-Bab. In PR terms, this will not allow the YPG to claim that its advance on al-Bab is aimed to battle ISIS.
ISIS uses guided missiles against a Turkish M60 main battle tank and an Otokar vehicle (16.12.2016):