IS mines kill 21 Turkey-backed rebels in Syria

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BEIRUT: At least 21 Syrian rebels fighting alongside Turkish troops in northern Syria against the Islamic State group were killed Sunday by landmines laid by the jihadist group, a monitor said Monday.

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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the toll was the highest loss of life for forces involved in the Turkish-led operation in northern Syria since it began in late August.

The Britain-based monitor said 21 rebels were killed and dozens more wounded, many seriously, while attempting to secure the village of Turkman Barah, near the flashpoint IS-held town of Dabiq in Aleppo province.

Turkish troops were not mentioned among the casualties.

IS withdrew from the village on Sunday but heavily mined the area before it left, Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

The jihadist group has regularly laid mines and booby-trapped buildings with explosives as it withdraws under attack.

Abdel Rahman said the toll prompted the rebel forces to redeploy outside Turkman Barah.

Turkey began its unprecedented operation inside Syria, dubbed Operation Euphrates Shield, on August 24.

AFP

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