More than 50 Islamic State (Isis) militants were killed on Saturday (4 February) after the Turkish Air Force launched several air strikes in Syria's al-Bab city, the Turkish Army's Central Command said. Around 56 IS (Daesh) positions were also destroyed in multiple air raids.

Additionally, Turkish forces and rebel fighters fighting against the militants have succeeded in driving them out from major parts of eastern al-Bab.

"Supported by a Turkish air cover, our forces seized control of key areas in eastern al-Bab, closing in on Isis inside the city," said Abu Iad al-Shami, a member of the Euphrates Shield Brigades – a group of rebel fighters leading the anti-IS campaign in Syria.

Sources in the military told ARA News that rebel groups and the Turkish army also captured al-Shamawiya al-Hammah village in southern al-Bab following heavy clashes on Saturday.

In a statement, the Turkish army said, "Saturday's air raids led to the destruction of 56 Isis-held buildings and three command centres in al-Bab city and the nearby town of Baza'a. 51 militants were confirmed dead in the strikes, including three leading members of the [ISIS] group."

According to ARA News, Turkish forces and rebel fighters also sustained significant casualties since their offensive to recapture al-Bab city commenced two months back.

Meanwhile, despite their opposing stand in the Syrian civil war – Turkey supports rebel groups who want the ouster Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russia is backing the Assad regime in gaining back rebel-held territories – the Turkish army reportedly collaborated with Russia to carry out air strikes on IS positions in al-Bab. In mid-January, forces of their two countries hit 36 IS positions in al-Bab, which was a major setback to the jihadist group.

turkey air force planes
Turkish warplanes hit 59 Islamic State targets in Syria's al-Bab city killing 51 militants on 4 February - File photo REUTERS/Murad Sezer