Turkey-backed operation to focus on Al-Bab after Dabiq

Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army on Sunday captured Dabiq in a symbolic setback to Daesh.

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army liberated the village of Dabiq in northwestern Syria from Daesh early on Sunday. They also captured Dabiq's neighbouring villages of Sawran and Osman.

Updated Oct 17, 2016

Turkey's operation against Daesh will continue until its border with Syria is completely secure, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday.

The Free Syrian Army (FSA), backed by Turkish artillery fire and air strikes, captured the Syrian town of Dabiq from Daesh on Sunday, and Cavusoglu said the forces would now advance towards the city of Al-Bab to clear the area, some 29 kilometers (18 miles) from the Turkish border. 

On Sunday, FSA fighters also took control of Dabiq's neighbouring villages of Sawran and Osman.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Emirati counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed in Ankara, Cavusoglu said the operation, dubbed 'Euphrates Shield', was on course.

"They [Free Syrian Army] have gained major successes in northern Syria and life is getting back to normal there. That's what we want to see in Syria," he said.

"The target is to continue towards al-Bab and liberate Manbij area completely from Daesh terrorists," the foreign minister said.


In mid-August, Turkish Armed Forces launched Euphrates Shield to secure the Turkish town of Karkamis from Daesh presence in the adjoining Syrian town of Jarabulus, which was cleared in the operation soon after.

Cavusoglu also said the much anticipated Mosul operation had not started yet, but it was expected to start soon. He said the operation should be launched by the Iraqi army with local forces, not with Shia militias.

"Mosul’s Sunni Muslim population should not be forced to choose between Daesh and Shia militias...why should people in Mosul have to choose between two evils?" he asked.

Turkey remains against any sectarianism in the region and is ready to give all its support in such a fight, Cavusoglu added.

In mid-2014, the Daesh terrorist group captured the northern city of Mosul and overran vast swathes of territory in northern and western Iraq.

Recent months have seen the army, backed by a 60-nation air coalition led by the US, retake much territory. Nevertheless, the terrorist group remains in control of several parts of the country, including Mosul.

The Iraqi army and its allies are now gradually advancing on Mosul, which officials in Baghdad have vowed to "liberate" by year’s end.

However, Turkey has been locked in a row with Iraqi authorities over who should participate in the US-led offensive in Mosul.

Ankara fears the participation of Shia militias in the Mosul offensive will stoke sectarian tension and trigger an exodus of refugees.

According to the UN, more than 3.4 million people are now displaced in Iraq -- more than half of them children -- while more than 10 million are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.

TRTWorld and agencies