ISIS ousted from last stretch of Syria-Turkey border: monitor

Turkish soldiers wave as they return from Syria to Turkey after a military operation against ISIS at the Syrian border.
Turkish soldiers wave as they return from Syria to Turkey after a military operation against ISIS at the Syrian border.PHOTO: EPA

BEIRUT (AFP) - Turkish forces and Syrian rebels expelled ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) from the last areas of the Syrian-Turkish border under their control on Sunday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

"ISIS has lost its contact with the outside world after losing the remaining border villages," the Britain-based monitor said.

The Observatory said "rebels and Islamist factions backed by Turkish tanks and warplanes" had taken several villages on the border "after IS withdrew from them, ending ISIS's presence... on the border".

The advance come after Turkey launched an operation dubbed Euphrates Shield on August 24, saying it was targeting both ISIS but also Syrian Kurdish forces that have been key to driving the terrorists out of other parts of the Syrian-Turkish border.

The Kurdish YPG militia is a key partner of the US-led coalition against ISIS, and has recaptured large swathes of territory in Syria from the extremist group.

But Ankara considers the YPG a "terrorist" group and has been alarmed by its expansion along the border, fearing the creation of a contiguous, semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Syria.

The loss of the Turkish border will deprive ISIS of a key transit point for recruits and supplies, though the group continues to hold territory in both Syria and Iraq.