Defense minister says desired result not achieved in al-Bab operation

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Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik. / AFP PHOTO / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS

Turkey’s Defense Minister Fikri Işık has said Turkey has not been able to get the result it sought from a military operation in the northern Syrian city of al-Bab, part of an operation launched last summer under the name Euphrates Shield.

Turkey on Aug. 24 sent tanks across the border to help Syrian rebels drive Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) from the border city of Jarabulus, in a dramatic escalation of its involvement in the Syrian civil war.

Speaking to reporters in Brussels on Thursday, Işık said: “Al-Bab has been completely besieged and there is a cleansing going on. We could not get the entire result we desired. Turkey’s priority now is to avoid conducting an operation in Raqqa with the wrong actors. As Turkey, we see use of a terror organization against another terror organization as a dangerous development.”

He was referring to the Syrian Kurdish forces, which Turkey sees as terrorists, fighting against ISIL.

More than 70 Turkish soldiers have so far been killed in the Operation Euphrates Shield.

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