Turkey to continue military operations in Syria despite threats

Militants allied to regime leader Bashar al-Assad warned Turkey any advance towards their positions north and east of Aleppo would be met "decisively and with force."

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Operation Euphrates Shield in fll force along the Turkish border with Syia.

Turkey on Wednesday said it would continue its military operations in Syria until Daesh is expelled from the town of al-Bab, despite a warning
from militants allied to regime leader Bashar al-Assad.

Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield two months ago to drive Daesh terrorists from its border and prevent PKK's Syrian branch of PYD from gaining ground in their wake.

As Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army push south towards al-Bab, a Daesh-held town 35 km northeast of Aleppo, they face confrontation with both PYD and pro-Assad forces.

The field commander of the forces allied to Syrian regime leader Assad- which include the Lebanese group Hezbollah, Iraqi militias and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards - warned Turkey any advance towards their positions north and east of Aleppo would be met "decisively and with force."

The commander, who was not identified by name, nationality or affiliation, made the comments during a tour of frontlines to the north of Aleppo in a written statement sent to Reuters.

They came a day after what the Turkish military said was a barrel bomb attack on the rebels its backs by a Syrian helicopter.

"This kind of attack will not stop our fight against Daesh," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a news conference in the capital Ankara.

"This operation will continue until al-Bab. The operation needs to continue, and it will," he said.

Turkish President Erdogan said Turkey's military operations in Syria aimed to secure al-Bab and the town of Manbij, which a group of Kurdish and Arab militias seized from Daesh in August, but were not intended to stretch to Aleppo.

"Let's make a joint fight against terrorist organisations. But Aleppo belongs to the people of Aleppo ... making calculations over Aleppo would not be right," he said in a speech in Ankara.

US President Barack Obama, in a telephone call with Erdogan on Wednesday, recognised Turkey's contributions to the fight against Daesh, the White House said.

The two leaders also agreed on the importance of denying PKK terrorists a safe haven in northern Iraq, it added.

PKK is considered as  a terror organisation by Turkey, EU, NATO and the US.

Reuters, TRTWorld and agencies