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Nearly two months into the assault, Turkey has become bogged down in an unexpectedly bloody fight to retake Daesh's (ISIS) last stronghold in northern Syria.It has been forced to pour in troops, take the lead in the battle from its Syrian allies, and reach out to Russia for aerial support.The fight for Al-Bab underscores the precarious path Ankara is treading with its foray into Syria, aimed against both Daesh militants and Syrian Kurdish fighters.Nearly 50 Turkish soldiers have been killed in its Syria operation, most of them since the Al-Bab assault began in mid-November – including 14 killed in a single day.For the U.S., the Al-Bab assault risks causing direct confrontation between Turkish troops and Syrian Kurdish forces, which are leading a U.S.-backed offensive toward the de facto Daesh capital, Raqqa.Turkish troops now outnumber the Syrian opposition fighters who were supposed to be "the primary ground force," Gurcan wrote in Al-Monitor.After Turkish troops and Syrian fighters secured a strategic hilltop on the town's edge in late December, Daesh launched a surprise counteroffensive, killing 14 Turkish soldiers and over two dozen Syrians.
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