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Turkey Signals Expansion of Operations in Syria

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey "had no choice" but to enter al-Bab
By The News · 22 of October 2016 09:06:02
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, El presidente turco Recep Tayyip Erdogan dando un discurso en Ankara el 12 de octubre del 2016.(Murat Cetinmuhurdar/ Servicio de Prensa Presidencial, Pool photo via AP), photo: Presidential Press Services/Murat Cetinmuhurdar, via AP

BEIRUT — Turkey’s president says the country will be expanding its operations in north Syria, including entering the cities of al-Bab, Manbij and Raqqa.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey “had no choice” but to enter al-Bab, despite criticism from the international community, “because we need to prepare an area purged from terrorism. The same goes for Manbij.”

He added that if the U.S.-led coalition was ready to act jointly, Turkey would do “whatever is necessary” against the Islamic State group (I.S.) in Raqqa, but with the coalition forces and not with Syrian Kurdish militants.

Turkish jets attacked Kurdish militia targets north of Aleppo late on Wednesday.

Turkey regards the Syrian Kurds an extension of its own outlawed Kurdish insurgency, but the U.S. considers them the most effective ground force in the fight against the I.S. group.