Turkey will not march to Aleppo: Turkish PM

Turkey will not march to Aleppo: Turkish PM

Turkey will not march to Aleppo: Turkish PM

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An ongoing Turkey-backed military operation in northern Syria will not target Aleppo, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said, in an indirect message to Damascus after four Turkish troops were killed in an attack by the Syrian government on Nov. 24. 

“We don’t have such a target. Our aim in this offensive is to eliminate instability which mainly Deash, and PKK-affiliated PYD and YPG have caused,” he told state-run broadcaster TRT.

Deash is the Arabic acronym of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing, the People’s Defense Units (YPG), are accused by Ankara of being affiliates of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Turkey has warned all parties to not repeat attacks against Turkish troops in Syria, he noted. 

“Our General Staff’s military contacts with related officials are continuing. The warning has been given to the officials, certainly and clearly, not to repeat the attack,” he stated.    

The cause of the attack is being investigated by Turkish officials, he added. 

“This incident will not change our mind regarding our aim there [in Syria],” Yıldırım said, recalling that Ankara wanted to move on the Manbij and Afrin regions in Syria after ISIL is removed from region in order to prevent the PYD from connecting the self-declared cantons through a corridor in the south.

Meanwhile, Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels have established control of nearly 1,820 square kilometers and 218 residential areas since the Euphrates Shield operation was launched in August seeking to retake ISIL-held territory in northern Syria and also to halt the advance of Kurdish militias.

Forty active land mines and 1,758 improvised explosive devices have been destroyed in areas cleared of ISIL, according to figures gathered from the Turkish Armed Forces.