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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Turkish PM: Our forces will not target Aleppo

ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has said his country’s campaign in northwestern Syria will not target Aleppo, not long after a Syrian airstrike killed three Turkish soldiers advancing against the ISIS-held city of al-Bab northeast of that key city. 

“We don’t have such a target,” Yildirim told Turkey’s state-run TRT on Friday. “Our aim in this offensive is to eliminate instability which mainly Daesh [ISIS], the PKK-affiliated [Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party] PYD and [Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units] YPG have caused.” 

A Syrian aircraft killed three Turkish soldiers in a bomb attack on Thursday, leading Yildirim to threaten retaliation. 

Damascus is opposed Turkey seizing al-Bab given its proximity to Aleppo – where the Syrian regime are bombarding opposition forces in that city’s east, with Russian support – and to the Turkish incursion in Syria in general. 

Turkey and an army of Syrian rebels are currently outside of al-Bab. On Saturday a Turkish soldier was killed in an ISIS attack, a day after another was killed – along with four of the rebels – in clashes with ISIS on Friday. 

Turkish officials have said that after al-Bab they intend to advance on Manbij, west of al-Bab, and force the YPG out of that town.


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