The Free Syrian Army took full control of Dabiq on Sunday, Turkey said. Photo: AP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Turkey has set its sights on al-Bab after successfully capturing the symbolic town of Dabiq from ISIS on militants, said Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
“They have gained major successes in northern Syria and life is getting back to normal there. That’s what we want to see in Syria,” Cavusoglu said on Sunday, according to Anadolu news, referring to the Free Syrian Army, the rebel forces fighting alongside Turkey in its Operation Euphrates Shield.
After Dabiq, he continued, “The target is to continue towards al-Bab and liberate Manbij area completely from Daesh [ISIS] terrorists.”
The same Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces have clashed with the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), who Turkey wants to withdraw completely to the eastern side of the Euphrates River.
The YPG participated in the Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) liberation of Manbij in mid-August. Shortly afterwards, on August 24, Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield. Ankara has opposed SDF advances against al-Bab as Turkey wants to prevent the Kurdish forces from attaining a larger foothold to the west of the Euphrates.
Turkey has said one aim of its intervention is to create a safe zone in northwestern Syria which will be free of both ISIS and the YPG.
Soon after liberating Manbij, the SDF created the al-Bab Military Council to oversee the military offensive in that city as well as post-liberation governance.