President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated his call for a "terror-free zone" in the northern part of war-torn Syria on Saturday.
"Now, 'do not go to Al-Bab' they say. We have to; we will go. Why? Because we need to prepare a terror-free zone there," Erdoğan said, referring to Turkey's ongoing military operation called Euphrates Shield.
This operation -- launched in August -- has seen Free Syrian Army fighters backed by the Turkish military rid large parts of north Syria of Daesh. Al-Bab is a Daesh-held northern Syrian city.
To ensure the establishment of a buffer zone on the Turkish-Syrian border to protect Turkey from Daesh shelling and the terrorism threat, capturing al-Bab is as important for the FSA as it is for Turkey.
Turkey has recently reiterated that the aim of Operation Euphrates Shield is securing a 5,000-square-kilometer area in Syria free of the Daesh threat.
The president's comments came during an inauguration ceremony for an education facility in the northwestern province of Bursa.
"If the coalition forces are ready to move together, we will do what is necessary against Daesh in Raqqa too. But not together with the PYD or YPG."
Erdoğan said Turkey would "not take terror organizations along with us".
The PKK and its Syrian offshoot the PYD are both listed as terrorist groups by Turkey although the U.S. and EU only view the PKK as a terrorist organization.
On Friday, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter met Turkish leaders, reaffirmed the countries' alliance and congratulated Turkey on successes against Daesh in Syria.
Carter thanked Erdoğan for "Turkey's resolve in the fight against terrorism and Turkey's critical support for the counter-ISIL campaign in Syria and Iraq," the Pentagon said in a statement which used an alternative acronym for Daesh.
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.