The northern Syrian town of al-Bab has been liberated from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Turkish daily Sabah reported Feb. 16, following months of battles between Turkey and its Free Syrian Army (FSA) proxy on one side and ISIL on the other.
“Good news! The al-Bab operation is over,” a report in Sabah released on Feb. 16 quoted Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar as telling a small group of reporters in Doha, where he went as part of a wider visit to the region together with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Talking about the details of the al-Bab operation as part of Turkey’s ongoing Euphrates Shield operation, Akar said two big traps, which included bombs, were destroyed and that cleansing efforts were underway in the region, according to the report.
Turkish Defense Minister: Trump is different from Obama regarding PYD or YPG
The separately, Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık in Brussels told reporters that ”Al Bab is completely besieged, now there is cleaning being done inside. We couldn’t get the result exactly we wanted.”
There is no clarity to exactly what Turkish Minister wanted to say in this statement as there is no further detail provided.
Işık also repeats Turkey does not want Syrian Kurdish forces to be used in Raqqa Operation in the same interview and says he conveyed this message to other counterparts in NATO meetings in Brussels.
The U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford will visit Turkey on Friday, Defense Minister Fikri Işık said on Thursday, according to Daily Sabah, as he noted the Trump administration is different from the Obama administration since they do not insist on Democratic Union Party (PYD) or the Peoples’ Protection Forces (YPG) to take part in the Raqqa operation.
“If the U.S. wants Raqqa operation to be successful, they need to carry it out with Arab elements rather than the PKK’s Syrian offshoot People’s Protection Units (YPG)” Işık said, and continued by adding that the U.S. does not seem to have made up its mind in this regard.