Turkey sends 180 commandos to Syrian city Al-Bab
Troops from the Turkish Gendarmerie’s “Wolves” battalion, based in the Black Sea province of Tokat, conducted a leaving ceremony before heading to Syria.
Turkish-backed Syrian fighters took Al-Bab, which lies 40 kilometers northeast of Aleppo, from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in February during the Euphrates Shield Operation. The cross-border operation was conducted by the Turkish military and Ankara-backed Syrian opposition groups, and led to the occupation of parts of northern Syria.
The commandos’ expected role in Al-Bab has not been revealed, though the deployment comes more than a month after Turkish troops entered Syria’s Idlib province with plans to establish de-escalation zones across the war-torn country, in line with the provisions set by the Astana talks.
“We have performed highly successful operations against terrorists across Turkey. I believe you will do your best to represent our flag and our nation there,” Colonel Hidayet Arıkan reported told the departing soldiers.
The Euphrates Shield Operation saw the Free Syrian Army, backed by Turkey’s military, liberate northern Aleppo province from ISIL militants.