WASHINGTON: Turkey has been able to deny Daesh access to an international border, the U.S. anti-Daesh coalition chief said Monday.
"Turkey has also successfully led operations to remove ISIL from the last 98-kilometer [60-mile] strip along its border, thereby denying ISIL for the first time access to any outside international border," Special Presidential Envoy to the anti-Daesh coalition Brett McGurk said during a plenary meeting with coalition members.
Operation Euphrates Shield, launched in late August by Turkey, aims at improving security, supporting coalition forces and eliminating the terror threat along Turkey's border using Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters backed by Turkish armor, artillery, and jets.
Earlier Monday, four Daesh terrorists were neutralized in northern Syria and Turkish jets destroyed four buildings used by the terrorists during the offensive, according to the Turkish military. The FSA seized control of the villages of Khaliliyah, Ajami and Shabviran, the Turkish military added.
Monday marks the 97th day of the operation.
In addition to border access control, the number of overall Daesh foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria are also at their lowest levels since 2014, according to McGurk.
"Foreign terrorist fighter flow into Syria and Iraq is down significantly, from approximately 1,000 per month in 2014, to approximately 500 per month in 2015, to a negligible amount today," McGurk said.
He also highlighted that important progress has been made regarding the coalition's territorial gains from Daesh.
"Local ground forces, with coalition support, have now retaken 56 percent of the populated territory ISIL once held in Iraq and 27 percent of what it once held in Syria," he said, and added that the numbers would increase with the liberation of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq.
McGurk also said Twitter has suspended "nearly 400,000 ISIL-related or affiliated sites over the past year" and counter-Daesh content was now more available online.
Source: Anadolu Agency