14 Febr 2017 – Turkish troops will not remain in Syria once the Islamic State (IS) is defeated and they will leave the lands to their “true owners,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.
“Just like Jarablus, al-Rai, Dabiq were cleaned [of IS] and the locals returned, al-Bab will be cleared and the people of al-Bab will resettle there,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul on Feb. 12 before departing for an official trip to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Stressing that Turkey aims to establish a “terrorist-free zone” in the region, he said the Euphrates Shield operation aims to eventually head to Manbij and Raqqa after the al-Bab offensive, Hurriyet daily reported.“After removing Deash, the YPG [Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units] and the PYD [the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Union Party] from the region and getting Deash out of Raqqa, it will be too much of a luxury for us to stay there. But it is currently too early to talk about such issues,” Erdogan said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.
“There will be no stop after al-Bab. There might be a problem of communication there. The capital of Deash is not al-Bab, but Raqqa. The ultimate goal is to cleanse a 5,000-square-km area,” he added.Turkish troops and its Free Syrian Army (FSA) allies has entered center of al-Bab town in northern Syria, Erdogan noted, adding that fall of the jihadist group’s last stronghold in the northern province of Aleppo is “a matter of time.”
Syrian army forces backed by the Russian Air forces have moved into the Tadif region in southeast of al-Bab in Aleppo province, the Russian Defense Ministry stated on Feb. 11, bringing the government troops close the demarcation line with the Turkish-backed FSA that has been agreed by Ankara and Moscow. According to this coordination agreement, a road in the Tadif region southeast of al-Bab is the line for military advance of Turkey-backed Syrian opposition and regime with its allies, according to Turkish sources asking to remain anonymous. www.mesop.de