Erdogan says Syria’s al-Bab to be taken soon, vows to hit Manbij

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L), Euphrates Shield Brigades (R). File photo

ARA News

Aleppo – The Turkey-backed offensive of the Euphrates Shield Operation to take Syria’s al-Bab city from ISIS should conclude soon, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday.

“In Syria, we hope to finish the operation of al-Bab in a short time,” Erdogan said.

As part of the Euphrates Shield Operation, Turkey’s military and allied Syrian rebels took over the city of Jarablus in August. Currently, Turkish forces and allied rebels are locked in fierce clashes with Islamic State’s (ISIS) militants in al-Bab.

Erdogan also vowed to hit Manbij city, that was liberated from ISIS at the hands of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) last August. “After [al-Bab battle] is completed, we are committed to clearing other areas where the terror organizations are nesting, especially Manbij,” Erdogan said.

The Kurdish YPG, which constitutes the backbone of the SDF forces that fight ISIS in northern Syria, is viewed by Turkey as a terrorist organization.

Backed by the US-led coalition, Kurdish YPG fighters and allied Syrian Democratic Forces have expelled Islamic State’s (ISIS) militants from major areas in northern Syria, including HasakahKobane and Manbij. Currently, the same forces are combatting ISIS in Raqqa–the Caliphate’s de facto capital– as part of the US-backed Euphrates Wrath Operation.

Noteworthy, Russian warplanes launched on Monday several airstrikes near the city of al-Bab, targeting Islamic State’s tactical units and fighting positions. “The Russian air cover helped the Turkish forces and allied rebels to advance towards Oqail Hill in northern al-Bab,” media activist Muhammad al-Jassim told ARA News.

“The Russian airstrikes came in support of the Turkey-backed groups as part of a recent agreement to intensify cooperation in the fight against ISIS,” al-Jassim reported.

According to observers, if the Russian support to the Turkey-led offensive on al-Bab continues, the Euphrates Shield Brigades may take control of the city very soon.

Turkey to US: Stop Supporting Syrian Kurds 

The new US Administration should stop supporting Syrian Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on Tuesday.

The Turkish PM also said that only Turkey is fighting ISIS, while the US and its allies “do nothing”.

“The world talks about Daesh [ISIS] but it does not fight it. It is only Turkey that fights against Daesh. The United States and others do nothing. They just supply the [Syrian Kurds] with weapons,” said Yildirim.

Reporting by: Helin Saeed and Sulaiman Muhammed | Source: ARA News

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